Use of Booster Seats by Michigan Children 4-8 Years of Age

The objective of this study was to determine the patterns of restraint use for 4-8-year-old children in Michigan conducted on 3420 children between July 13 and 29, 2004. Of particular concern was to learn the rate of booster seat use. These children were observed traveling in passenger cars, vans/minivans, sport-utility vehicles, and pickup trucks. Restraint use was estimated for children traveling in all vehicles combined, as well as for each vehicle type separately. Children's restraint use was also calculated by the gender, age, and belt use of the driver. Separate estimates were also made of the restraint use of 4-8-year-old children by the combination of gender and belt use of the driver. Overall, it was found that nearly 9% of 4-8-year-old children were seated in a booster seat, nearly 10.3% were wearing a safety belt, and around 3.4% were seated in a child safety seat, and the remaining 11.5% were traveling completely unrestrained. When examining the rates by vehicle type, the study found that booster seat use was highest among children riding in sport-utility vehicles and lowest for those in pickup trucks. The researchers were surprised to learn that children riding in passenger cars were more likely to be completely unrestrained than those in any other type of vehicle. While the gender of the driver did not influence the restraint use of target-aged children, the driver's age did appear to have an effect. Booster seat use was quite low for children traveling with a driver over the age of 60, compared to those riding with drivers aged 16-29 and 30-59, respectively. The driver’s use of a safety belt also played a major factor on whether their children were also so restrained. Regardless of the gender of the driver, children riding with belted drivers were traveling in booster seats about 10% of the time, while those riding with unbelted drivers were only in booster seats 1-2% of the time. The results of this study demonstrate that booster seat use of target-aged children was greatly influenced by whether or not the driver used a safety belt. It is surmised that stricter enforcement of the adult safety belt use law in Michigan might have the additional benefit of increasing restraint uses for the 4-8-year-old passengers.


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  • Accession Number: 01013454
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Dec 7 2005 8:07PM