Use of Booster Seats by Michigan Children 4-8 Years of Age
This study reports the results of a statewide survey of restraint use by 4-8 year old children in Michigan conducted between July 13 and 29, 2004. In this study, 3,420 4-8 year old 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 sex, 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 sex and belt use of the driver. Overall, 8.6 ± 5.9 percent of 4-8 year old children were seated in a booster seat, 48.8 ± 10.3 percent were wearing a safety belt, 5.1 ± 3.4 percent were seated in a child safety seat, and the remaining 37.5 ± 11.5 percent were traveling completely unrestrained. When examining the rates by vehicle type, booster seat use was highest among children riding in sport-utility vehicles and lowest for those in pickup trucks. Surprisingly, children riding in passenger cars were more likely to be completely unrestrained than those in any other type of vehicle. While the sex of the driver did not seem to influence the restraint use of target-aged children, the driver’s age did seem to have an effect. Booster seat use was quite low (0.6 percent) for children traveling with a driver over the age of 60, compared to 7.0 and 9.1 percent for those riding with drivers 16-29 and 30-59 years of age, respectively. The safety belt use of the driver also had a substantial influence on children’s restraint use. Irrespective of driver sex, children riding with belted drivers were traveling in booster seats about 10 percent of the time, while those riding with unbelted drivers were only in booster seats 1-2 percent of the time.