Are You Making This Dangerous Carpooling Mistake? A New Survey Says You Might Be

As a mom who shuttle multiple kids and their friends around from one activity to the next, I have on occasion, let the booster seat rule slide in my car when I don't have enough seats for the whole gang. 

I am not the only one, according to a new national survey from the University of Michigan, which was published in Pediatrics. While most parents (76 percent) put their 4- to 8- year olds in booster seats in the family car, more than 30 percent said that they don't enforce this rule when their kids are in another parent's car. And 45 percent didn't require their own kids to sit in a booster when they didn't have enough for the entire carpool.

"It's alarming to know that close to 70 percent of parents carpool, and when they do, they’re often failing to use life-saving booster seats," survey author Michelle Macy, M.D., clinical lecturer of emergency medicine at the University of Michigan Medical School, said in a statement.

State laws vary, but The American Academy of Pediatrics, along with many other children's health organizations, recommends the use of a booster seat until a child reaches a height of 57 inches, the height of an average 11-year-old child. (Wondering what the booster seat laws are in your state? Find out here.)

I went out this weekend and bought an extra booster (it was $20 at Wal-Mart) to keep in my car just for the occasions when I'm a seat short. It's a small price to pay for the peace of mind it's already given me.

Plus, watch our series Oh, Really? about Road Trip fun facts!

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