Study co-authors Dr. Michelle L. Macy and Dr. Gary L. Freed, both of the Child Health Evaluation and Research Unit of C.S. Mott Children's Hospital at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, said the American Academy of Pediatrics issued new Guidelines for Child Passenger Safety in 2011.
They called for rear-facing car seats for children until age 2; forward-facing car seats with a five-point harness for as long as possible until the child is the maximum weight and height suggested by the manufacturer; booster seats until an adult seat belt fits properly, when a child reaches around 57 inches in height -- the average height of an 11-year-old; and children riding in the back seat until age 13.
The investigators evaluated three years of data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration National Survey on the Use of Booster Seats collected prior to new guidelines.
"We found that few children remain rear-facing after age 1, fewer than 2 percent use a booster seat after age 7 and many age 6 and older sit in the front seat," Macy said in a statement. "Overall few children are using the restraints recommended for their age group, and many children age 5 and older are sitting in the front seat."
The research is scheduled to be published in the September issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.
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