January 31, 2012
Booster Seat Laws Ignored When Carpooling
A new study from the University of Michigan´s C.S. Mott Children´s Hospital finds that 45 percent of parents do not require their children to be in booster seats when carpooling other children.
The study cites practical barriers that include limited seating within the vehicle and difficulties making arrangement with other drivers leads parents to avoid safety seats while carpooling.
Nationally, most states require the use of booster seats. Many require the use up to the age of 8-years old, but they vary from state to state. USA Today reports that Florida allows kids to use adult seat belts at age 4 to 5 while Wyoming requires children 4 to 8 to be in a “child restraint.” Tennessee requires child seats for ages 4 to 8 and under 4-foot 9.
But other organizations emphasize the size of the child rather than age. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends a child be in a booster seat until they reach 57 inches, the height for an average 11-year old.
According to Michelle Macy, the lead author of the study, “Wearing a poorly positioned belt puts children at greater risk of injuries to abdominal organs, spine bones and the spine itself.”
The study surveyed over 1,600 parents across the US. Of those participants, 681 had children between the ages of 4 to 8. Seventy-six percent of those reported they put their child in a safety seat while riding in the family car. But, only 55 percent insisted on seats when driving other children. Also of the 64 percent of parents who carpool, 21 percent do not ask other drivers to provide a booster seat for their child.
Macy suggests, according to WebMD, that conscientious parents should carry extra seats in the trunks of their cars. Or a deflatable booster seat can be bought for around $40 that can fit in a backpack.
The study also found where child restraints were required, parents were more likely to use them.
The study is published in the journal Pediatrics.
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