ANN ARBOR, Mich., Jan. 31 (UPI) — Parents usually use booster seats for their children but about 30 percent do not when they have other people’s children in their cars, U.S. researchers say.
Dr. Michelle Macy of the University of Michigan Medical School, a pediatrician at University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital, and colleagues found 45 percent of parents do not require their kids to use a booster when there are other children in a vehicle who do not have one.
“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,” Macy said in a statement. “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 said limited vehicle space and difficulties making arrangements with other drivers often led parents to abandon safety seats when carpooling.
However, 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.
“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,” Macy said. “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.”
The findings were published online ahead of the print edition of Pediatrics.