A new study found most parents fail to install car seats correctly, putting their kids at risk during a crash.
The nonprofit group Safe Kids USA just released its findings from one of the largest studies ever done on child seats.
My son is 5 and he just graduated from a car seat to a booster seat, but researchers found many parents aren't using booster seats and they should be.
Safe Kids was particularly concerned about children ages 7 or 8 who were not in booster seats. According to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data, children are 59 percent less likely to be injured in a booster seat than if they were using a seat belt alone.
The study also found many children were in the wrong car seat for their age.
Car crashes remain the leading cause of death for children ages 3 to 14, according to the NHTSA. If used correctly, car seats reduce the risk of death by 71 percent for infants and 54 percent for toddlers.
What concerned researchers the most was that a majority of parents aren't using tether straps. Tether straps are part of the LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tether for Children) safety system and are designed to keep the top of the car seat, and children's heads, secure in a crash.
Safe Kids said two-thirds of parents still rely on seat belts to secure car seats because they don't know how to use the tethers.
Another concern involves infants and toddlers. Safe Kids and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend children stay in rear-facing seats until they are 2.
They found parents are “doing a better job” at keeping toddlers facing backwards longer, but more needs to be done to educate parents about car seat safety.
For more information on the study go to www.safekids.org. Parents Still Struggle With Proper Safety Seat Use