As children outgrow their car seats and transition to booster seats, many parents may feel that their child is more safe, but new research suggests that is not the case.
Children between ages 4 and 7 ("booster seat-aged") are twice as likely to suffer a serious injury during a car crash than young children. New research from the University of Michigan, however, suggests that accurately using these big-kid car seats may decrease this statistic.
Researchers concluded that booster seats are often overlooked during safety checks. The study, published in the Journal of Trauma, found that only 11 percent of car safety inspections included examining booster seats, while about 50 percent looked at rear-facing infant car seats. Conclusions were drawn from data collection from more than 4,500 car seat inspection stations in Michigan.
In the cases when booster seats were checked, one-third still required an adjustment to make them safer.
"Booster seats have been shown to reduce the risk of serious injury by 45 percent in children aged 4-8 when compared with seat belt use alone, but there are reportedly lower rates of proper restraint use among older kids," noted the study.
To keep your kiddo as safe as possible, seek out guidance from a professional when choosing and installing your child's booster seat.
Caitlin St John is an Editorial Assistant for Parents.com who splits her time between New York City and her hometown on Long Island. Follow her on Twitter: @CAITYstjohn.