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U of M study finds problems with carpooling and booster seat use

A new University of Michigan study finds most parents are hesitant to insist their young children use booster seats when they carpool.  

Public service announcements remind us that children between 4 and 8 years old,  under 4 feet 9 inches tall, must be in a booster seat when riding in a car.    But that message is not convincing most parents to insist on a booster seat when their kids carpool with other children.

“More than 60 percent of parents of 4 to 8 year olds are carpooling," says Michelle Macy, M.D., M.S., a clinical lecturer of emergency medicine at the University of Michigan Medical School and a pediatrician at U-M C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital

"Of the parents who say their child usually uses a booster seat," Macy says,  "only half are doing so when their children are rising with friends who don’t have a booster seat.  And, one in five aren’t asking other drivers to use a booster seat for their child.”

Macy says peer pressure and convenience are the main excuses.

Macy says tougher laws requiring booster seats are needed to encourage child safety.

The U of M study appears in the journal Pediatrics. 

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.