Booster Seats Often Left Behind For Carpooling, Study Shows
As a parent, it can be difficult to keep up with the ever raising healthy and safety bar surrounding things like booster seats.
But a new study reveals that certain factors like carpooling can erode tendencies to follow best practices when it comes to in-car safety and use of booster seats. With recommendations dictating use of booster seats until the age of up to twelve, many parents may not be aware of or inclined to follow such stringent rules, but researchers say that more regulations could help reduce the risk of injury or fatality by increased and more consistent use of booster seats.
Michelle Macy, MD is a pediatrician at the University of Michigan, and she co-authored a study that explored the use of booster seats among parents and their children in the four to eight-year-old age brackets. What the researchers found is that even parents who use booster seats for older children may not always do so when carpooling. Macy explains that it’s it’s “a complex issue of convenience, expectations, and peer pressure.”
Two-thirds of respondents in the study carpooled, and those parents were “significantly more likely” to follow state laws about booster seats relative to their child or childrens’ ages. And two-thirds of the booster seat users reported always using booster seats with other people’s kids, whereas those who reported using seatbelts only used booster seats for the children of others about a quarter of the time. But, WebMD says, carpooling practices seem to negatively impact the better habits for booster seat use:
…only half of parents who report using a safety seat always have their child use one when riding in their car if their friends don’t have boosters — and 1 in 5 parents don’t always ask other drivers to use a booster seat for their child.
Macy suggests stowing a spare or inflatable booster seat to ensure one is always available when needed.