Only a small percentage of U.S. children are using age-appropria - 21 News Now, More Local News for Youngstown, Ohio -

Only a small percentage of U.S. children are using age-appropriate safety restraints

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BOARDMAN, Ohio - A parent's job is to protect their child. However, a lot of parents unknowingly put their children in harm's way when they strap them into the car.

Car crashes are the leading cause of death for children over the age of three and the cause of more than 150,000 child injuries each year.

Child safety seats can reduce the death risk by 71% for infants and 54% for toddlers. However, it all depends on if the seats are used properly.

"You want to make sure that the seat is not moving one inch side to side or front to back. So, it definitely needs to be tightened in the car or that the child is not in the car seat correctly, whether the straps are not tight enough, whether that chest clip is not high enough on them. It is really important to have both of them correct," said Akron Children's Hospital Injury Prevention Specialist Gia Ramsey.

The American Academy of Pediatrics updated car seat recommendations last year. Children under the age of two should ride in a rear facing seat until they out grow it. Children over the age of two, and younger than four, should be secured in a forward-facing seat. Booster seats are recommended for children up to 4'9" tall and children under the age of 13 should be restrained in the rear of the car.

"If your child is not secured in the seat correctly, if you get into an accident and their straps are not tight enough they could really be ejected from their seat depending on the type of accident they are in and if they are not, if the seat is not tight in the car, that could shift and put them in danger," Ramsey said.

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