According to a study, conducted by the University of Michigan’s C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital, almost half of parents will allow their children to ride in a regular seatbelt while carpooling. This applied, even if the parent regularly used a booster seat in their own vehicle.
Booster seats are mandated by law for children under the age of 8 in some states. In others, the use of a booster seat is optional. But whether mandated or optional, parents should know that booster seats are designed to keep children safe while riding.
Death and serious injury can result from buckling a child into an adult seatbelt too soon. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, too soon is any time before the child reaches a height of 4’9” and before the age of 8. Before a child reaches these guidelines, they should be buckled into a booster seat, which ensures that the seatbelt harnesses the child correctly, protecting them during a car accident.
But it seems that most parents in the U.S. know this, because most of them reported using booster seats for their children in their own family car. Yet, researchers say that more than 30 percent of parents skip the booster seat when they carpool, and 45 percent said that they do not use booster seats for their child if other children in the car ride without them.
Dr. Michelle Macy, a clinical lecturer of emergency medicine at the University of Michigan Medical School and a pediatrician at C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital, who participated in the study had this to say:
“The majority of parents reported that their children between the ages of 4 and 8 use a safety seat when riding in the family car. 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. Parents who do not consistently use booster seats for kids who are shorter than 57 inches tall are placing children at a greater risk of injury. Parents need to understand the importance of using a booster seat for every child who does not fit properly in an adult seat belt on every trip.”
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