Fewer children ages 4 to 7 died in car accidents after states passed booster seat laws, with the most noticeable results in the 6- and 7-year-old age range, according to a new study in the journal Pediatrics.
The study found that between 1999 and 2009, states which required booster seats saw an 11% decrease in the number of child traffic deaths versus those without a law. Once some state laws developed to include 6- and 7-year-olds, death rates dropped nearly one-quarter in states with a mandate as compared to those without.
"This [study] shows that it's kids at the upper end of the age range who could benefit the most," said senior researcher Dr. Lois K. Lee of Children's Hospital Boston. While Lee acknowledges that getting an older child to agree to get in a booster seat may be challenging, she has advice for parents: "They can tell their child it's the law."
Booster seats must be properly installed and used to be effective. Parents can visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration website for more information on booster seat safety and for a list of local inspection stations that can help with installation.
Image: Young boy in a booster seat via Shutterstock