Research shows overall child passenger safety education programs are working, with more infants and toddlers being positioned correctly in car safety seats.
The American Academy of Pediatrics, or AAP, recommends children be placed in rear-facing car seats until at least the age of 2.
The study, which will be presented Monday at the AAP’s National Conference & Exhibition in Chicago, found that infants placed in rear-facing car seats increased from 84 percent in 2009 to 91 percent in 2015. The percentage of toddlers age 12-17 months being placed in rear-facing car seats also increased dramatically from 12 percent to 61 percent during the same time period.
The study included 7,725 children age 15 and younger in motor vehicles at 25 different sites throughout Indiana.
“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,” Dr. Joseph O’Neil, medical director of the Automotive Safety Program at Riley Hospital for Children, Indiana University Health, said in a press release.
Researchers found for older children age 4-7, booster seat use decreased from 72 percent to 65 percent between 2009 and 2015.
The study findings suggest educational programs 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.
By Amy Wallace