Study urges parents to enforce booster seat use when carpooling

January 30, 2012, University of Michigan Health System

Most parents report that they typically require their child to use a life-saving booster seat, but more than 30 percent said they do not enforce this rule when their child is riding with another driver.

The study, conducted by child at University of Michigan's C.S. Mott Children's Hospital, also revealed that 45 percent of parents do not require their kids to use a booster when driving other children who do not have one.

"The majority of parents reported that their children between the ages of four and eight use a when riding in the family car," says Michelle Macy, M.D., M.S., a clinical lecturer of at the University of Michigan Medical School and a pediatrician at U-M C.S. Mott Children's Hospital. "However, it's alarming to know that close to 70 percent of parents carpool, and when they do, they're often failing to use life-saving booster seats."

Researchers believe practical barriers, including limited vehicle space and difficulties making arrangements with other drivers, lead parents to abandon safety seats when carpooling.

Results of the study are to be published online ahead of print in Pediatrics.

Most state laws require children to use a booster seat, many until children are 8 years old. National recommendations encourage the use of booster seats until a child reaches 57 inches, which is the average height of an 11-year-old.

Placing a child in an adult seat belt prematurely can cause shoulder and lap belts to fit improperly, negating the life-saving benefits of seatbelts. Click here to see the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's recommendations as to how should fit.

"Therefore, parents who do not consistently use booster seats for kids who are shorter than 57 inches tall are placing children at greater risk of injury," says Macy. "Parents need to understand the importance of using a booster seat for every who does not fit properly in an adult seat belt on every trip."

Study authors suggest that social norms may be set by state booster seat laws, as parents are motivated to follow guidelines set forth by law. State booster seat laws were associated with higher safety seat use, regardless of carpooling, even though half of parents surveyed admit to not knowing the age cited in their state booster seat law and another 20 percent guessed incorrectly.

"According to current recommendations most children should be using booster seats beyond the age cited in state laws. As many may not even be aware of current recommendations, pediatricians should make it a priority to share this vital information with them," says Macy.

Explore further: Keep your kids properly secured while traveling

More information: doi: 10.1542/peds.2011-0575

Related Stories

Keep your kids properly secured while traveling

September 26, 2011
Child Passenger Safety Week is celebrated every year to remind parents and other caregivers of the need to keep children of all ages properly restrained in a seat that meets their weight and height requirements.

Parents moving kids into booster seats too early

November 3, 2011
(Medical Xpress) -- A Queensland University of Technology (QUT) evaluation of the recent changes to car child restraint laws has found almost a quarter of children up to seven years of age weren't wearing the right type of ...

Crash experts find car seats protect overweight kids, too

November 29, 2011
Researchers at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia's Center for Injury Research and Prevention studied nearly 1,000 1- to 8-year-old children involved in crashes and found no evidence of increased injury risk for children ...

Recommended for you

Americans are getting more sleep

January 19, 2018
Although more than one in three Americans still don't get enough sleep, a new analysis shows first signs of success in the fight for more shut eye. According to data from 181,335 respondents aged 15 and older who participated ...

Wine is good for you—to a point

January 18, 2018
The Mediterranean diet has become synonymous with healthy eating, but there's one thing in it that stands out: It's cool to drink wine.

Sleep better, lose weight?

January 17, 2018
(HealthDay)—Sleeplessness could cost you when it's time to stand on your bathroom scale, a new British study suggests.

Who uses phone apps to track sleep habits? Mostly the healthy and wealthy in US

January 16, 2018
The profile of most Americans who use popular mobile phone apps that track sleep habits is that they are relatively affluent, claim to eat well, and say they are in good health, even if some of them tend to smoke.

Improvements in mortality rates are slowed by rise in obesity in the United States

January 15, 2018
With countless medical advances and efforts to curb smoking, one might expect that life expectancy in the United States would improve. Yet according to recent studies, there's been a reduction in the rate of improvement in ...

Can muesli help against arthritis?

January 15, 2018
It is well known that healthy eating increases a general sense of wellbeing. Researchers at Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU) have now discovered that a fibre-rich diet can have a positive influence ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.