Safe driving advocates sound like a broken record sometimes -- wear your seat belt! The problem is that drivers just aren't listening, especially when it comes to our most vulnerable travelers.
Every year, there are more than 140,000 kids rushed to emergency rooms because of car accidents. According to a recent study from the University of Michigan, few parents and young passenger follow the national recommendations for child restraints. For this reason, car accidents continue to be the leading cause of death for kids over the age of three.
"We found that few children remain rear-facing after age 1, fewer than 2% use a booster seat after age 7, many over age six sit in the front seat," explained Dr. Michelle L. Macy with the University of Michigan,
Our Charlotte injury attorneys understand that as children age, their usage of child restraints and seat belts decrease. The study also looked at different ethnic groups and child seat belt usage. Researchers found that blacks were more likely to be graduated to the next child restraint system before the time was right. They were also nearly 25 times more likely to be completely unbuckled while riding in a motor vehicle.
Parents, guardians and caregivers all need to understand the important role they play in the lives of these young passengers. Adults play a large role in the difference between life and death in the event of an accident for our youngsters.
The study looked at nearly 21,500 kids in vehicles as they passed through gas stations, fast food restaurants, daycare centers and recreation centers. They took note of the kind of child restraint that was used, the seat row they were placed in, the kind of restraint that the driver used and what type of car was being driven.
Experts observed far too many young children improperly restrained or completely unrestrained. And now, we use this time to remind parents and other adults who transport children about the proper way to buckle in our young ones.
Car Seat Recommendations for Children:
-Kids under the age of 1-years-old need to stay in a rear-facing car seat in the back seat of a car, and away from an active air bag, until they meet the height and weight restrictions for their seat.
-Kids between the ages of 1 and 3 should move to a forward-facing car seat only when they've exceeded the limitations of their rear-facing car seat. Once they've graduated to this stage, they're recommended to remain in the back seat away from an active air bag.
-Kids between the ages of 4 and 7 should only move to a booster seat once they've exceeded the limitations of their forward-facing car seat. Once they've graduated to this stage, you want to make sure that the adult seat belt fits them properly with the use of a booster seat.
-Kids between the ages of 8 and 12 should remain in a booster seat only until they've grown big enough not to need it, meaning that they can properly fit into an adult-sized seat belt without the booster seat.