Five area police agencies are watching Kent and Ottawa County drivers as part of an increased effort to find reckless drivers. Part of that enforcement will include checking to make sure children are riding in car seats and booster seats.
Anne Readette of the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning tells WOOD Radio mom and dad play the most important role in keeping kids safe in the car.
"The most important indicator to see that kids are buckled-up are if the driver is buckled up."
According to research, for children from birth to 3 years old, 93.6 percent were in car seats, down from 95 percent in 2011. Booster seat use is at 42.4 percent for 4- to 7-year-olds, down from 43.9 percent two years ago.
Readette says Michigan law requires drivers and passengers 15 years old and younger in any seating position to be buckled up. In most cases, mom and dad know better. but some parents aren't as likely to follow the rules.
"They are a little less likely to buckled-up if the driver is male. They are less likely to be buckled-up if the driver is age 65 or older."
The study also looked at misuse rates. The most common misuse for rear-facing seats was the seat not being reclined at the proper angle. Rear-facing and forward-facing seats both had frequent issues with the harness retainer clip position and excessive slack in the harness strap. The most common booster seat misuse was the shoulder belt not being properly positioned over the shoulder and chest of the child.
For information on car seats or to locate the nearest technician, visit SaferCar.gov/TheRightSeat or download the SaferCar app.