One in five parents of young children bend the car safety rules by allowing kids to ride without seat belts, car seats, or booster seats, says Linda Carroll of NBC News. Even more shocking is that 61% have seen other parents bending the rules when carpooling, according to a report released this week by Safe Kids Worldwide.
Funded by the General Motors Foundation, the report was based on an online survey of 1,000 parents of kids from 4-10. What is the exact number of carpooling parents who fail to use restraints? That is a statistic that would be hard to come by.
"Somewhere between 20-60% lies the truth," said Kate Carr, president and CEO of Safe Kids Worldwide. "And for those of us who are parents, we probably will admit that on occasion we all bend the rules about something at some point."
Current National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recommendations are:
Keep your child in a booster seat until he or she is big enough to fit in a seat belt properly. For a seat belt to fit properly, the lap belt must lie snugly across the upper thighs, not the stomach. The shoulder belt should lie snugly across the shoulder and chest and not cross the neck or face. Remember: Your child should still ride in the back seat because it's safer there.
NHTSA and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend that kids ride in buckled car seat until they are 57â³ tall and weigh between 80 and 100 pounds. Safe Kids Worldwide found that seven in 10 parents do not know the height recommendation, and 86% moved their child to a seat belt too soon, says Larry Copeland writing for USA Today. From time to time, state police will hold a car seat check in most cities. This may be the best way to keep your child using the most appropriate car safety equipment.
State troopers have found that parents are taking booster seats out of their cars too early. In Buffalo, New York, for Child Passenger Safety Week, troopers are putting car seats in the spotlight, and troopers say it's a good thing. Just this past weekend, an automobile accident injured three passengers. The crash would have been worse for a child in the vehicle if the child had not been properly placed in a child safety seat.
Joe Melillo, reporting for WIVB-TV, writes that there are many factors that go into making sure a seat is secure. The child's weight, height, and age are of utmost importance. Unfortunately, says Trooper Mike Swarthout, too often, parents get it wrong.
One of the biggest barriers to using the correct seat is peer pressure. Other friends and families don't understand why a smaller child of the same age is still in a booster seat. A solution is the "no-back" booster seat, a seat much like a booster that kids use in restaurants that raises a child about 6 inches. The best advice is not to cave and to keep your child in a car seat for as long as recommended.
In Detroit, WDIV-TV announces that as part of national Child Passenger Safety Week, Safe Kids Worldwide will be offering car seat and booster seat checks.