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Study shows fewer Michigan children riding in car seats and booster seats

DETROIT, MI (WTVB) - Fewer children are riding in car seats and booster seats in Michigan, according to an observation study conducted by the Wayne State University Transportation Research Group. For children from birth to 3 years old, 93.6% were in car seats, down from 95% in 2011. Booster seat use is at 42.4% for 4- to 7-year-olds, down from 43.9% two years ago.

Michael L. Prince, director of the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning said babies, toddlers and young children are extremely vulnerable vehicle occupants adding that children who move to seat belts too soon risk injuries because the belts don’t fit properly. Michigan law requires drivers and passengers 15 years old and younger in any seating position to be buckled up. Children must be properly buckled in a car seat or booster seat until they are 8 years old or 4 feet 9 inches tall.

The survey found that children were least likely to be in the correct car seat or booster if riding in a pickup truck, the driver was male, the driver was 60 or older and if the driver was not buckled up.

The study also looked at misuse rates. The most common misuse for rear-facing seats was the seat not being reclined at the proper angle. Rear facing and forward-facing seats both had frequent issues with the harness retainer clip position and excessive slack in the harness strap. The most common booster seat misuse was the shoulder belt not being properly positioned over the shoulder and chest of the child.