Study finds many parents ignore child safety seat guidelines

CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) - We've talked about child safety in cars before, but a new study shows many parents and caregivers are ignoring the recommended guidelines.

Investigators looked through at least three years of research. More than 21,000 children make up the data.

The new study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine shows many children between birth to 13 years old are riding in the wrong seats, or in the front seat too early.

The study found: children are not in rear-facing child seats past age one, very few are using booster seats after seven years old and too many children over age six are riding in the front seat.

Experts say some parents may be too eager to move their child along and that means a lack of protection.

Here are the national recommendations: have a child in a rear facing seat until age two,  in a forward facing seat for as long as the child is under the height and weight limit, a booster until the seat belt fits properly and no riding in the front seat until 13 years old or even driving age.

These are tips Emanuel Smith say he's going to use as his grandson gets older.

"A lot of people really don't know it," he said. "Since I've been told, I think we'll keep him in the back for now.

The study comes the same week that AAA has marked the first of August to Labor Day as the deadliest days on the road. That's because more people are driving and taking longer road trips.

Virginia law does not prohibit a child from riding in the front seat, unless the child is in a rear-facing safety seat.

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