Car Safety for Kids Needs a Boost

Safety booster seats not always used as recommended

(RxWiki News) Moms and dads who put their children in booster seats in their own cars aren't always consistently requiring kids to use the safety seats, as safety recommendations indicate.

When parents are carpooling or when their children are riding in others' cars, almost half the parents in a national survey report not enforcing the booster seat use.

Children under 57 inches should use booster seats in cars at all times.

"Car seats do save lives, use them."

Dr. Michelle Macy, a clinical lecturer at the University of Michigan Medical School and pediatrician at C.S. Mott Children's Hospital, led the study based on a web-based survey of 1,612 parents in January 2010.

Of the total group, 681 parents of kids between the ages of four and eight answered 12 questions about carpooling and using booster seats.

Three-quarters of these parents said their child uses a booster seat in family car.

Parents were more likely to require the child sit in a booster seat if they had younger children and if their state had laws requiring booster seat use.

Of the 64 percent of parents who said they carpool regularly, a large majority (79 percent) said they would ask other drivers to put their child in a booster seat.

Yet only 55 percent said they make sure their child uses a booster seat in their own car if they're driving friends who don't have boosters.

"Clinicians who care for children should increase efforts to convey the importance of using the size-appropriate restraint for every child on every trip," the authors wrote.

The study was published online at the end of January and will appear in an upcoming issue of Pediatrics. The authors stated they had no conflicts of interest with the study.

The research was funded by the C.S. Mott Children's Hospital National Poll on Children's Health, the University of Michigan's Department of Pediatrics and Communicable Diseases, and a grant from the Michigan Center for Advancing Safe Transportation Throughout the Lifespan.

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Review Date: 
February 1, 2012