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Could Carpooling Put Your Child at Risk?

As San Diego injury lawyers, we are concerned by a new study about booster seat use. It found that nine out of ten parents move their children to regular seat belts before they are ready.

Tragically, motor vehicle accidents are the second leading cause of death for children four to ten years old. In 2012, 340 children lost their lives. Of those, one third were not properly restrained.

To examine seat belt and booster seat use, Safe Kids Worldwide and General Motors Foundation surveyed 1,000 parents of children aged four to ten about how their child rides in a car and what leads them to use a booster seat or seat belt. The study revealed that a seven in ten parents do not know that a child should be at least 57 inches tall to ride in a car without a booster seat. As a result, most transition their children from a booster seat to a seat belt too soon.

The results of the Safe Kids study are concerning because children who wear improperly fitting seat belts are at risk for severe abdominal, head, and spinal injuries. Moreover, booster seats have been shown to reduce the risk of injury by 45 percent compared to seat belts alone for children aged four to ten.

The survey also revealed that children are often not properly restrained when carpooling. One in five parents whose children carpool say they “bend the rules” when driving, allowing children ride without seat belts and without the car seat or booster seat they would normally use. In addition, more than two-thirds of parents surveyed reported that they notice other carpool drivers do not properly restrain all of the children in their vehicles.