The winter driving season brings a number of hazards that drivers must be aware of, including snowy roads, black ice and fog. While these hazards compel drivers to slow down and be vigilant about their surroundings, it creates added emphasis on safety for young children riding in cars.

This is especially important given how proper car seat use is a problem in the United States. According to a CBS News.com report, a new study has been released indicating that many parents are unaware (or simply ignore) federal safety guidelines. Specifically, parents with school-aged children (who are too big for car seats) are not using proper booster seats or sitting in the front seat of cars when they should be sitting in the rear seat. 

According to guidelines set forth by the American Academy of Pediatrics, these children should be using a belt-positioning booster seat, and sit in the rear of the vehicle.

The study was conducted by reviewing three years of data collected by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), where researchers interviewed and observed parents and how children were secured in vehicles.

We find this story compelling because of the injuries that can (and should be) prevented through proper safety seat use. Auto accidents are the leading cause of death for children aged 3 and older, but car seats are known to cut the risk of death in half when considering toddlers and school age kids. As road conditions become troubling and the risk of accidents increase during the holidays, we hope that parents will consider these risks and revisit child safety seat guidelines.  

Source: CBS News.com, “U.S. children at risk from poor adherence to car seat guidelines, study warns,” Ryan Jaslow