Research In Action

Research In Action

older child in booster
Best Practice for Car and Booster Seats As Your Child Gets Older
October 20, 2015

I clearly remember checking our infant car seat’s fit at a car seat checkpoint before our first child was born. Despite being a pediatrician with an interest in child passenger safety, it boggled my mind just how difficult it seemed to install the car seat correctly!

Fast forward a few years and our infant car seats have been replaced by forward-facing convertible seats and booster seats. I must admit that I haven’t returned for a car seat inspection since that initial day. Apparently I am not alone, according to a recent study from the University of Michigan’s Pediatric Trauma Program, discussed by Dr. Flaura Winston in this Healthy Kids blog post.

This study, which examined 2013 data from the Michigan-based Safe Kids Coalition, found that among car seat inspections for children already born, 10% were conducted for booster seats and half were conducted for rear-facing car seats. Many older children were at the inspection only because parents were getting a younger sibling’s seat checked. However, older children were far more likely than younger children to leave the event in a more protective restraint than what they arrived in.

This rings true to me-- pediatricians and new parents alike tend to be properly vigilant when it comes to that infant car seat’s installation. But clearly it’s just as important to remain vigilant for our older children too. 

For helpful resources to share with parents, check out Car Seat Safety for Kids (with videos on choosing and installing car seats, as well as car seat inspections stations and check events staffed by certified child passenger safety technicians).