Consumer Alert: Car Seat Safety On The Decline With Older Children

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A new study finds parents are using car seats correctly, at least when it comes to their infants.

The same can’t be said for when those kids get older. As CBS2’s Hena Doba explains, that’s when car seat safety appears to decline.

Livingston, New Jersey resident Kelly Massler has a baby boy on the way. She’s went to a safe kids car seat inspection station where instructors teach parents how to properly install car seats.

“Everything about safety is important, especially the safety of a child,” she said.

Experts say babies and infants should ride in a rear facing car seat until their are two years old, and new research finds more parents than ever before are following that guideline.

Safety instructor Patty DiFilippo says the seats can save lives.

“Being in a rear facing car seat, the child’s head and neck is supported by the car seat in the event of a frontal collision,” she said.

But while more parents are making sure their young children are protected, there is a drop off when they get older.

The study found booster seat use decreased slightly among children four to seven years old.

Dr. Joseph O’Neil from the Riley Hospital for Children is the study’s author.

“If we try to put a child in an adult-sized seat before they’re ready, then it doesn’t fit them right,” Dr. O’Neil said. “It hits them across the neck, and it really can have tragic consequences in terms of injury in motor vehicle crashes.”

Oneil says they commonly see harnesses used incorrectly when parents don’t use the top tether anchor in forward-facing seats. Taking that extra step can make sure your child stays safe.

The study also found 31 percent of 8 to 12 year olds were allowed to sit in the front seat. Experts say kids shouldn’t do so until they’re at least 13.

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