According to an article in Pediatrics and Child Health, restraint systems in cars can actually endanger children since seat belts are designed for the adult body. Parents should use car seats to keep infants, toddlers, and even young children safe while in the car. Airbags are also dangerous to children, which is why parents are advised to keep children in the back seat until they are around 12 years old.
Studies have demonstrated that properly-used car seats and booster seats can save lives, but not every parent uses these tools correctly. Unfortunately, even when car seats are properly used and parents take every precaution, children can still be hurt or even killed in accidents.
Parents.com has advice for parents on keeping infants and toddlers safe in cars. Many parents have misconceptions about what they should be doing to protect children and babies, and Parents.com gives parents proven and practical advice on keeping their children from harm in a crash. Parents should know:
- Most kids are injured close to home. While parents can get casual about making sure kids (and especially toddlers) are properly secured in car seats or booster seats for a quick trip, these quick trips are when accidents happen.
- Many parents are not using car seats properly. CBS reports that a car seat can reduce the chances of an infant dying in a car accident by 71 percent and can reduce the risk of a toddler dying in a car accident by 54 percent. Unfortunately, studies show some parents don't keep kids in car seats for long enough or do not install and use seats properly. Fire departments and police departments typically help parents to install car seats in order to make sure they are keeping children safe.
- Kids can get hurt even when a car is not moving. Each year, around 220 children are killed in auto accidents that are not traffic crashes. Kids could be strangled by a window when leaning out of the window and the automatic window switch is hit. They could also release the emergency brake or put the car into gear and start moving if they are playing alone in a car. Kids should not be left unsupervised in a vehicle, even if the car is stopped.
These tips can help keep not only infants and toddlers safe, but also children of all ages. It is actually older kids aged four to eight who face a bigger risk than babies because parents are usually more lax about making sure older children use booster seats and sit in the back. Experts recommend that a child be in a booster seat in the car until around age eight, but this is not common practice among parents even if it is safer.