A survey released in this month’s edition of Pediatrics found that 76% of parents with children ages 4 to 8 used a safety seat when their child was in their own car. However, when children are riding in another’s car, 21% of parents who use a safety seat in their own car do not ask the driver to use a safety seat. Additionally 55% of parents who use a booster seat in their own car do not always require their child to use a booster seat when driving other children who do not have boosters. Car crashes are the leading cause of death for children ages 3 to 14, and NHTSA estimates that child safety seats have saved nearly 9,000 lives since 1975.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recommends that all children ages 4 to 7 ride in a car seat until they outgrow the recommended weight or height limit, and then ride in a booster seat. Children ages 8 to 12 should also ride in a booster seat until they are tall enough to safely use a seat belt. Ohio law requires that all children under age 4 or 40 pounds ride in a child safety seat and that all children ages 4 to 7 and below 4 feet 9 ride in a booster seat. University Hospitals’ Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital Injury Prevention Center offers car seat inspections for parents wishing to to ensure that their child’s car seat is safely installed. Other car seat inspection stations can be found by visiting NHTSA’s website.