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Few children are properly restrained in the car

Close to 180,000 children are injured in car accidents every year in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Sadly, car accidents are the leading cause of death for children over the age of 3.

However, the CDC says that children are much less likely to be injured in a car accident if they are properly restrained. In fact, child safety seats cut the risk of death by about 70 percent for infants and slightly more than 50 percent for toddlers. But, the safety seats must be used properly in order for them to save lives.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children under the age of 2 be placed in rear-facing car seats. Children over the age of 2 should be placed in a forward-facing car seat. Children who no longer fit in a car seat should have a belt-positioning booster seat. Parents should wait until their children turn 13 to allow them to sit in the front seat.

These guidelines help save lives. However, a recently released survey shows that many parents are not following the guidelines. For instance, after surveying close to 21,500 children, researchers found that less than 2 percent of children over the age of 7 were in a booster seat.

Parents in Baltimore know that a car accident can happen anywhere and at any time. Despite the warnings, many people continue to drive recklessly. A negligent driver can turn a normal drive into a tragic one. Although no one knows when and where they will be involved in a car accident, parents can do their part to keep their children safe by properly restraining them.

Source: CBS News, "U.S. children at risk from poor adherence to car seat guidelines, study warns," Ryan Jaslow, Aug. 8, 2012

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