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1 in 4 kids not buckled in cars

By Tara Baukus Mello ·
Wednesday, September 18, 2013
Posted: 6 am ET

One in 4 parents said that they have driven without their children buckled in a car seat or booster seat, according to a new car-safety study.

The Buckle Up: Every Ride, Every Time study, conducted by Safe Kids Worldwide as part of a $2 million grant from the General Motors Foundation, was released earlier this week as part of National Child Passenger Safety Week.


While the number of kids dying in car crashes has dropped by 58 percent since 1987, it is still the leading cause of death to children. One-third of the children killed in 2011 -- the most recent data available -- were riding without a child safety seat or a seat belt that could have prevented their deaths, and this latest research indicates the trend may be headed in the wrong direction. Even car accidents that don't result in fatalities can wreak havoc with car insurance rates, not to mention medical needs, unnecessarily complicating a family's life.

The online survey of 1,002 parents and caregivers of children 10 and younger also asked if it was acceptable to a child to ride unrestrained in a car in certain situations. About 21 percent of respondents said it was acceptable to drive with an unrestrained child if they were not driving far, and 16 percent felt it was acceptable to ride unrestrained on an overnight trip.

These findings were particularly disturbing in that 60 percent of crashes involving kids occur on trips that were 10 minutes or less from home, and overnight drives are the time period when children are most likely to be injured in a car crash, says Safe Kids Worldwide.

Do you allow your kids to travel in the car without a seat belt?

Tara Baukus Mello writes the cars blog as well as the weekly Driving for Dollars column, providing both practical financial advice for consumers as well as insight into the latest developments in the automotive world. Follow her on Facebook here or on Twitter @SheDrives.

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September 19, 2013 at 7:58 pm

I am in forth grade and I am 9.I even now to buckle up. Great safety blog.

jeanny courter
September 19, 2013 at 2:39 pm

he is in a seat belt now and im happy he has been always safe it took him along time to get him out of a car seat or a booster seat im happy he is in a seat belt and that he can just hop into car and buckelup

jeanny courter
September 19, 2013 at 2:37 pm

5ft 11 inches tall sorry

September 19, 2013 at 2:36 pm

he weighs 106 pds sorry

September 19, 2013 at 11:05 am

If you go to the York PA Child Safety place on S. George St they have information which is very very helpful and they put your carseats/booster seats in properly for you FREE of Charge, but is nice to give a donation for their GREAT HELP! A child should be in a back seat of a car until 13 years of age and also in a booster seat until their height is 4'9" tall for COMPLETE SAFETY. Those of you who don't go by these rules can get fined too. I'd rather be SAFE THEN SORRY CONCERNING MY KIDS AND GRANDKIDS! :-) HAVE A GREAT DAY!

September 19, 2013 at 9:23 am

I can't believe all the kids I see at my son's school not even in a seatbelt! We had our son in a 5 point harness until he was almost 7 because he only weighed 45lbs. He's almost 9 and still rides in a full back booster seat because he just doesn't fit in a seatbelt very well. I never had to wear a seatbelt growing up and it scares me to think about that now. Ever since I started driving I have been wearing my seatbelt.

September 19, 2013 at 9:09 am


September 19, 2013 at 8:42 am

What age and weight should a child be to not ride in a car seat?

Don Tennant
September 19, 2013 at 8:39 am

I'm 70, never had seat belts or any other restraining devices as a kid. I, like millions, am still alive to respond to this article.
I agree that all of these devices are helpful, however, way too much emphasis is placed on this subject matter; my opinion.

September 18, 2013 at 8:48 pm

I rode in my family's car from birth till I could drive myself. never wore a seat belt moms arm took care of that. I have been in 2 accidents that would have ended in death if I would have had a seat belt on. not that they do not save lives just not mine

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