Unfortunately, many parents continue to violate basic child safety rules, and move their children from booster seats to a seat belt much too early, increasing the risk that their child will be seriously injured in an accident.
According to a new study which involved more than 1,000 parents who participated in an online survey, determining when a child should move from a booster seat to an adult seat belt is still confusing for most parents. The online survey was conducted by Safe Kids Worldwide, and found that 9 out of 10 parents had moved their children from a booster seat to a safety seat belt to early.
Seven out of 10 parents of children between the ages of four and 10 were still not aware of the basic height requirements that a child must meet before he can be restrained in a safety belt only. The recommendation is that the child should be at least 4’9" before he can use an adult safety belt. When a child below the height requirement is restrained in a safety belt, there is a serious risk that the child will be injured in an accident.
Many parents seem to base their decision to move the child from a booster seat to a safety seat belt on a variety of factors, including the local laws in the state, and the comfort of the child. In addition, children in a carpool are less likely to be restrained in a child safety booster seat. One in five parents whose children were part of a carpool said that they frequently violated the rules by allowing the children to ride without a car seat belt. Such practices are fairly common and parents also admitted that they frequently saw other drivers in carpools violating these rules as well.
There are other rules that parents are violating which put their children at risk. For example, as many as 60% of the parents in the study admitted that they frequently allowed their child to ride in the front seat of the car. Parents were much more likely to allow the child to ride in the front seat when the child was the sole passenger in the car, or when the backseat had too many occupants.
Such negligence severely increases the risk that your child will suffer serious injuries in a car accident. Remember, child restraints are only effective when they are appropriate for the child’s age and height.