More infants and toddlers being positioned correctly in car safety seats
New research shows that overall, child passenger safety education programs are a success, with more infants and toddlers riding in the rear-facing position than ever before.
The study abstract, "Trends in Child Passenger Safety Practices in Indiana From 2009-2015," will be presented Monday, Sept. 18 at the American Academy of Pediatrics National Conference & Exhibition in Chicago.
For the study, researchers observed 7,725 children 15 years and younger in motor vehicles at 25 different locations throughout Indiana between 2009 and 2015, noting the type, position and location of the child safety seats.
The AAP recommends children be placed in rear-facing safety seats until at least age 2. In the study, researchers noted that for infants, rear-facing seat placement increased from 84 percent in 2009 to 91 percent in 2015. For toddlers age 12-17 months, rear-facing increased from 12 percent to 61 percent during that time.
However, among children 4-7-year-old children, booster seat use decreased from 72 percent to 65 percent. The AAP recommends children use booster seats until at least 8 years of age.
"This study shows that child passenger safety education has been a success in making sure young children are positioned correctly in the car, but there is still room for improvement." said lead researcher Joseph O'Neil, MD, MPH, FAAP, medical director of the Automotive Safety Program at Riley Hospital for Children, Indiana University Health.
Overall, the research shows an improvement in child passenger safety practices among Indiana drivers, O'Neil said. Educational campaigns to improve child passenger safety could focus on the gaps identified by the study, including the recommendation to keep children rear-facing in safety seats through age 24 months, to use booster seats through age 8, and the recommendation that children sit in the back seat through age 13.