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U-M study urges parents to enforce booster seat use when carpooling
Date:1/30/2012

ANN ARBOR, Mich. 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 health experts 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 safety seat when riding in the family car," says Michelle Macy, M.D., M.S., a clinical lecturer of emergency medicine 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 seat belts 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
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Contact: Lauren McLeod
lemcleod@med.umich.edu
734-764-2220
University of Michigan Health System
Source:Eurekalert

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