"Babies older than 2 months are capable of real movement," said Richel, who was not part of the study. "We as physicians and health-care providers have to be aware of these kinds of accidents when we advise parents."
To prevent harm, Richel and Parikh recommended that car seats be used only in cars and only when the infants are properly restrained.
"The best thing is for babies to come out [of the car seat] when you come home," Richel said. "Barring any danger to the child, such as an aggressive dog, put the car seat directly on the floor."
Parikh also recommended that car-seat manufacturers do a better job of informing consumers about the danger of misusing their products, including offering explicit printed instructions. Car seat companies should also strive to engineer more stable seats, he added.
In related news, researchers confirmed earlier reports that booster seats significantly reduce the risk of crash injury in children ages 4 through 8.
According to the study, reported online Monday in the journal Pediatrics, children in belt-positioning booster seats were 45 percent less likely to sustain injuries than similarly aged children in standard vehicle seat belts. Booster seats with and without backs provided similar protection.
Visit the American Academy of Pediatrics for more on car-seat safety.
SOURCES: Shital Parikh, M.D., associate professor, orthopedics, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center; Peter Richel, M.D., chief, pediatrics, Northern Westchester Hospital Center, Mount Kisco, N.Y.; Oct. 19, 2
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