Motor vehicle traffic crashes remain the leading cause of death nationwide for children ages three and older. Premature graduation of children to adult seatbelt systems is a major contributor to this problem. In Oregon, crash data for the 2010 calendar year indicated that 49 percent of booster-age children injured in crashes were using adult belts instead of boosters, and 50 percent of booster age children killed were totally unrestrained. Securing children properly in the back seat of the vehicle is the most effective action parents and caregivers can take to protect them in the event of a crash.
• Only 60 percent of those who should be using booster seats are using them. Booster seats serve as an important middle step between a car seat with a harness and a vehicle's lap and shoulder safety belt. (ODOT Oregon Occupant Protection Observation Study ,2010)
• Oregon law requires children up to age 8 or 4'9" to ride in a booster seat. Note: Parents should secure their child in a booster seat until the lap and shoulder belt fits properly regardless of age or height.
• Belt positioning booster seats are 59 percent more effective in reducing risk of injury when compared with safety belts alone. (Children's Hospital of Philadelphia)
• In 2010, 535 children ages 4 to 7 in Oregon were killed or seriously injured in motor vehicle crashes - only 51 percent were using a child restraint. (ODOT Crash Analysis & Reporting System)
Learn more about child passenger safety and access further materials and resources at http://cms.oregon.gov/ODOT/TS/Pages/safetybelts.aspx
(Oregon Medical Association, 2012)