Just 1 in 10 car seat checks analyzed were for booster seat-age children – who are twice as likely to suffer serious injury or death in crash.
ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Booster seat-aged children are twice as likely to suffer serious injury or death in a car crash than younger children, but a new study shows they may be less likely to have car seats inspected for proper use.
Less than a quarter of car seat and booster checks analyzed in the new University of Michigan Health System study were conducted in children ages four and older at car seat inspection stations in Michigan. Just 1 in 10, or 11 percent of inspections, covered booster seat-age children ages 4-7 while half were for rear-facing car seats.
Unintentional injury remains the leading cause of death and disability for children over the age of one in the U.S. Children ages 4-12 are more likely to suffer significant abdominal injuries as a result of switching from booster seats to seatbelts too soon. These injuries, known as ‘seat belt syndrome’, include intra-abdominal, spinal cord, and facial injuries.
Booster seats have been shown to reduce the risk of serious injury by 45 percent in children aged 4-8 when compared with seat belt use alone but there are reportedly lower rates of proper restraint use among older kids. Authors point to such factors as lack of knowledge about the safety benefits of booster seats and risk to child passengers.
Child passenger safety initiatives also generally focus most on car seat inspections for infants and toddlers, authors say. The study analyzed data from 4,531 car seat inspections (1,316 that occurred through Safe Kids Huron Valley and 3,215 through Safe Kids Greater Grand Rapids). Children older than four were more likely to have a sibling who underwent a car seat inspection – many may have even been brought along with no intention from the parent of having the older child’s seat evaluated. (SOURCE: University of Michigan)
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