This post was sponsored by The Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central and all opinions expressed in my post are my own.
Michigan’s kids are back in school, and for many that means more time in the car with daily trips to and from class, childcare and other extracurricular activities. Unfortunately, many of those children may not be traveling safely to school if they are under 4′ 9″ tall and not using a booster seat.
I went through the booster seat stage with both of my boys. I know kids don’t always want to use a booster seat. My boys are four and half years apart in age. Also, David, my oldest, has always been tall for his age. So by the time David turned eight, he was 4′ 9″ and could ditch the booster seat. Just as he gained his freedom, little brother Wade started using a booster seat. There were many times over the years when Wade wanted to be like his big brother and not use a booster seat. The older he was, the more Wade protested the booster seat. And Wade wasn’t tall like his brother, so he had to use the booster seat longer. As parents, we stood our ground and kept Wade in the booster seat until he met the requirements.
The Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning says it’s important for children under 4′ 9″ tall to use a booster seat, because adult seat belts don’t correctly fit children shorter than that, which means they aren’t properly protected. Even if the child seems too old for a booster, they still need to use one. It’s not about the maturity of the child, it’s their physical size that matters when it comes to booster seat use. Michigan does have laws about the use of booster seats. Visit the MOHSP online for more information and to better understand booster seat safety and Michigan laws.
According to The MOHSP, only 49.7 percent of Michigan’s children ages 4 through 7 are sitting in a booster seat when they travel by car. That means over half of Michigan’s children between ages 4 and 7 are at risk every time they leave their driveway.
Statics show why using a booster seat is so important. The MOHSP says that when children ages four to eight use a booster seat along with a seat belt, their risk for serious injury in an accident is reduced by 45 percent, compared to just using a seat belt alone. For older children and adults, seat belt use reduces serious injury risk by 50 percent. So it’s important for the whole family to buckle up properly.
It’s also important to make sure your child uses a booster seat when they ride in someone else’s vehicle. It may seem like a hassle to move the seat between vehicles or leave it with someone else. I know at times it was just one more thing to remember when juggling kids’ schedules. We always chose to make our kids’ safety a priority, even if it was a little inconvenient. If the person they were riding with didn’t already have a booster seat for our child, we made sure the used ours.
When our kids did finally graduate out of the booster seat, it was a big deal for all of us. They felt very grown up, and it was one less detail for us to worry about. It also meant everyone had a little more room in the back seat! It might feel like the day will never come, but it’s really just a very short season in your child’s life. Eventually, they won’t be in a booster seat anymore. Then you’ll find yourself wondering how it’s possible for them to be almost old enough to drive themselves. That’s the season we’re in now with our oldest.
The simple use of a booster seat can help give you peace of mind about your child’s safety when riding in the car. For me, any inconvenience it caused was worth knowing my child was properly protected.