STATE SURVEY DATA
- Seventy-one percent (71%) of all parents and caregivers mistakenly believe it is safe to place children under age 8 in a “regular seat with a regular safety belt without any specialized safety seat or other device.” Another 4% admit they don’t know when it is safe.
- Most people (97%) know it is unsafe to put children 3 years or younger in a regular seat with a seat belt.
- Beyond age 3, however, many people believe it is safe to transfer a child into a regular seat with a seat belt.
- Fifteen percent (15%) mistakenly believe it is okay for 4 year olds to ride without any safety seat devices.
- Forty-one (41%) percent of parents and caregivers mistakenly believe it is safe by age 5.
- Sixty-one percent (61%) mistakenly believe children are safe to ride without a safety device by the time they are 6 years old.
- The following numbers detail how children between the ages of 4 and 8 usually ride in vehicles:
- Only one-fifth (21%) of parents or caregivers with children between 4 to 8 are actually using booster seats.
- Just under one-fifth of parents and caregivers (17%) are using front or rear facing safety seats with harnesses that may or may not be appropriate for the height and weight of children between ages 4 to 8. Belt positioning booster seats are specifically designed for children between 40 to 80 pounds (roughly between the ages of 4 to 8).
- Fifty-eight percent (58%) of parents and caregivers simply use a seat belt for these children.
- Two percent (2%) admit to using no safety or restraint device.
RIGHT AGE FOR BOOSTER SEATS
About 4 in 10 Americans (41%, based on Wirthlin Worldwide’s August 2000 National Quorum) have children or care for children under age 12. Booster seats are intended for children between the ages of 4 to 8. About 31% of Americans have children or care for children between these ages.
The good news is that most parents and caregivers are making sure children are using some type of safety restraint. Ninety-six percent (96%) of all parents and caregivers report that the children under their care usually use a seat belt or safety seat or some type.
The bad news is that most of these parents and caregivers are not always using the type of seat that is most appropriate or safe for children of older ages. Among parents and caregivers of children between 4 to 8, nearly nine of ten (88%) have heard or read about “booster seats.” Nevertheless, despite the high number of parents and caregivers of children under age 12 that have heard about booster seats, the number of parents and caregivers who use them, or are knowledgeable about which ages of children should use them, is very low: