A statewide survey by the University of Iowa’s Injury Prevention Center (IPRC) shows the older kids get, the more likely it is they won’t be properly buckled up in a car. IPRC deputy director, John Lundell was pleased to see the numbers for kids age one to five.

“Practically 98% of them that we observed were properly restrained in a child safety seat in a vehicle. You know I think that’s an emphasis through education efforts, as well as the hospitals, anymore most hospitals will not discharge a new mother unless she says the proper care seat to go with a child when they get ready to send them home,” according the Lundell.

He says it’s important to note the children were “properly restrained.” “It’s very tragic when you see a parent that’s certainly trying to do what they feel is best for their child, and just through the improper restraint use, it ends up causing and unnecessary injury in the event of a crash,” Lundell says.

The survey showed less encouraging results in the compliance for kids age 14 to 17 — with almost 25% not wearing any restraint.

“You know I think that’s a function of once they get in the backseat and they get to be that 10 to 14 to 17-year-old age range, they’re old enough to control their own belt usage and they can also saying no to their mom and dad once in awhile,” Lundell says. “It’s just a function I think of of where they try to become a little bit more independent, although that’s not the safe route.”

Lundell says adults have to work with kids from early on, so they aren’t reluctant to wear the belts as they get older. “So it starts with the parents, showing the good example and wearing their seatbelt, and then it’s developing good habits as they are younger so it becomes second nature when they get in the vehicle where they automatically put that seatbelt on,” Lundell says.

Overall Lundell is happy with the results of the survey as about 78% of the passengers observed in the survey were in the back seat of the cars, the place he says is the safest, regardless of age. “So that was an encouraging observation,” Lundell says.

You can see the complete list of communities and local survey results at: www.public-health.uiowa.edu/iprc. The annual survey is funded by the Iowa Governor’s Traffic Safety Bureau.