With all the information out there about the importance of booster seats and their power to save the lives of children, some parents shockingly still don't use them. Especially parents who carpool it seems.
A new study from the University of Michigan found that while most use them when they're driving their own kids, 30 percent of parents don't require their kids ages 4-8 to be in a booster seat when they ride with someone else. Not only that, they found that 45 percent of parents don't make their own kids get in booster seats when they have other children in their own car without booster seats.
Are you kidding me? Who are these people?
Okay, I may be one of them once in awhile, and I'm not proud of it. Not for my 3-year-old ever -- she's still in a five-point harness car seat. But once my son moved into the booster seat and through preschool, I started getting more lax. He's 8 now, but not 4' 9'' tall (national guidelines suggest children be both) and MOST of the times he's in a booster. But I admit there has been more than one time over the years that I let him ride without a booster, and just as this study suggests -- it has almost always been in a carpool situation.
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More times than not, it has been me telling my son to give up his booster seat to whatever kid I'm toting in my car, because I feel so much responsibility when I have someone else's child in my care. But sometimes I let him go with someone else who doesn't have a booster seat when I could easily get mine from the car because ... I'm not sure why. I'm lazy? It's inconvenient? I don't want to be that mom who won't let him go have fun because someone doesn't have an extra booster seat?
Whatever the reason, it's not okay. I know we all rolled around on the floor while our parents drove and we turned out fine, but that doesn't mean we can't do better for our kids and make them safer. And if that's not reason enough, it's also illegal in many states for children under 8 to ride in a car without a booster seat.
This study should serve as a good wake-up call for us all to review the laws in our individual states and those guidelines issued by the American Academy of Pediatrics and make sure that we're following them ALL the time. As busy as we all are, we should still always make time to put what's important first, because it only takes an extra minute to make sure our kids are in the right type of seat, and just once for life to change forever if we don't.
More from The Stir:
Do you find yourself disregarding booster seat rules when it comes to carpooling?
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