A new report from the Automobile Association of America found that 77 percent of all parents surveyed said they met or exceeded the recommendations regarding child car seats set forth by the American Academy of Pediatrics one year ago.
Guidelines revised in 2011
The report speaks well of the nation’s parents, who are taking child safety on the highways seriously. One year ago the AAP updated its guidelines, recommending that children under three should be in rear-facing child seats. Older kids need to use booster seats until age 12, unless the child is taller that 4 foot nine inches. Seatbelts — designed for adult passengers — do not restrain smaller bodies properly. Booster seats raise a child up so that the seatbelt fits snugly across the thighs where it can do the most good in the event of an accident.
Most parents aware of guidelines
The survey also showed that, despite initial reticence from some parents, 90 percent of those who have kids under 13 years old are aware of the child car seat guidelines. Many said they learned about the guidelines from their pediatricians. A full 82 percent of those surveyed with children under two said they were following the guidelines and did not need to make a change.
Guidelines changed policy of many
The report also indicated that nearly one third — 35 percent — of those surveyed said, not only were they aware of the updated guidelines, but they have changed their onboard policy for their children since they were updated.
AAA’s Jill Ingrassia, said in a statement:
“It’s encouraging to find that many parents are aware of the recommendations and are taking these safety interventions seriously. Parents are getting the message that moving a child to the next step prematurely is actually a downgrade in safety. Children should remain in their car or booster seat until they outgrow it.”
Some still grumble
Some parents, however, still are not in line with the revised guidelines. Some said the guidelines were too rigid or unnecessary. Others said that they worried about peer pressure affecting their children over three, since many of their friends were not using booster seats. Others still said that their younger children refused to sit rear-facing.
According to Autos.ca, studies have shown that kids who are properly fastened into rear-facing seats are injured five times less often in crashes.
Child-seat inspection stations can be found in your locality by consulting the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration website.