Child Passenger Safety Practices in the U.S.

A recent article in American Journal of Preventive Medicine examines how kids are riding on our nation’s roadways. The study’s primary objective was to analyze three years of NSUBS data to evaluate for racial/ethnic disparities in the types of child safety seats in use across childhood.  The secondary objective was to identify child, driver, and vehicle characteristics associated with child passengers being unrestrained and sitting in the front seat.
RESTRAINT USE: It is not surprising that this publication found a decline in child safety seat use and an increase in being unrestrained were observed with increasing child age.
DRIVER BUCKLED: Our work on making sure everyone rides buckled up is essential. Children with an unrestrained driver had a 23 times more likely to be unrestrained.
FRONT SEAT: The message of kids in the back seat is being heard with fewer than 5 percent of children younger than 4 years observed as front seat passengers.  As kids get older, they are more likely to ride in a front seat.
After reviewing all the data, although both age and racial disparities exist, overall low proportions of children are using the age appropriate restraint (selection) and many are placed at risk by sitting in the front seat (location). This study suggests three specifıc opportunities to increase the number of children who are properly restrained:
1. First, few children remain rear facing after age 1 year.
2. Second, after 7 years of age, less than 2 percent use a booster seat.
3. Third, many children aged 6 years sit in the front seat, one in seven aged 6–7 years, one quarter of those aged 8 –10 years, and more than one third of those aged 11–12 years
Adair County Health System has a free Buckle Up Right program that anyone can have a car seat check by one of our car seat technicians for free.  If a new child safety seat is needed, one will be given.  A donation will be asked for but not required for the new child safety seat.  To schedule an appointment with Kelly Oder or Mandi Eisbach (Child Safety Seat Techs) please call 641-743-2123.

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