Booster Seat Use Inconsistent When Carpooling

Peer pressure and compliance with social norms seem to influence booster seat use

MONDAY, Jan. 30 (HealthDay News) -- Booster seat use among children aged 4 to 8 years is inconsistent during carpooling, according to a study published online Jan. 30 in Pediatrics.

Michelle L. Macy, M.D., of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and colleagues conducted a cross-sectional Web-based survey of a nationally representative panel of parents of children ages 4 to 8 years in the United States. The responding parents answered 12 questions related to booster seats and carpooling that formed part of a larger survey.

The researchers found that, among the 681 parents that met the inclusion criteria, 76 percent reported their child used a safety seat when riding in the family car. Seventy-four percent of these children used seat belts in accordance with their state law. Parent report of child safety seat use correlated with the presence of state booster seat laws and younger child age. Nearly two-thirds of parents carpooled (64 percent). Among parents who carpooled and whose children used a child safety seat, 55 percent reported they always had their child use their booster seat when driving their child's friends who did not have boosters and 79 percent indicated they always asked another driver to use a booster seat for their child.

"Carpooling is a common driving situation during which booster seat use is inconsistent. Social norms and self-efficacy are associated with booster seat use," the authors write.

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