Philadelphia Hospital Study Shows Rise in Booster Seat Use for Older Children

December 4, 2001

A study released by researchers at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia in the December issue of Pediatrics indicates that, while parents are more likely than ever before to use booster seats for older child passengers, a majority of children in the U.S. are still “not optimally restrained.”

Findings revealed a 74 percent increase in booster seat use for children between 4 and 8. “When the study began, only 4.6 percent of children enrolled were restrained in a booster seat at the time of a crash. At the end of the [ 2-year] study period, the percentage of children restrained in booster seats had risen to 13 percent,” said the announcement.

The study was performed as part of the national “Partners for Child Passenger Safety (PCPS)” project, an ongoing research project sponsored by the Children’s Hospital, State Farm and the University of Pennsylvania, devoted exclusively to the study of “pediatric motor vehicle injury.”

One of it earlier findings found “that children between ages 2 and 5 who use adult seat belts are 3.5 times more likely to suffer significant injury and four times more likely to suffer significant head and brain injury when compared to the same age group who use car booster seats.”

While the rise in the use of booster seats is welcome news, and highlights the effectiveness of educating drivers concerning the special measures which should be taken to protect their children’s safety, the study found that 87 percent of older children, between ages 4 and 8, were still at risk, as the use of booster seats with proper restraints declined rapidly after age 3.

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