Michigan’s booster seat use rate remains below 50 percent

Less than half of 4- to 7-year-olds in Michigan are using booster seats, which are shown to reduce serious injuries by nearly 50 percent.

A 2015 observation survey conducted by the Wayne State University Transportation Research Group found that booster usage is 49.7 percent for that age group. A 2008 state law requires children to be properly buckled in a car seat or booster seat until they are 8 years old or 4 feet 9 inches tall.

“Traffic crashes remain a leading cause of death nationwide among children. Car seats and boosters can prevent many of those fatalities and injuries,” said Michael L. Prince, director of the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning. “Older children are more at risk as car seat use goes down despite boosters being less expensive and easier to use than seats for younger children. The beginning of a new school year is a perfect time to focus on traffic safety for students as they are driven to classes, sports activities and other events.”

Booster seats lift the child up so the seat belt fits securely across their hips and shoulders, the strongest parts of the body. When children shorter than 4 feet 9 inches tall don’t use a booster, the belt does not fit comfortably and they are more likely to tuck the seat belt behind their back or under their arm which can cause injuries, including internal organ damage or trauma to the neck or head.

There’s a five-step test for determining if children should ride without a booster. For a video outlining those

steps go to www.youtube.com/watch?v=-kyHjHEHjGk.

“Children must be in the correct seat for their size and that seat needs to be installed and used properly,”

Prince said. “Parents and caregivers can meet with trained car seat technicians to learn how to properly use seats.”

Grants available for removing or upgrading Michigan dams

LANSING (AP) — The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is accepting proposals for grants that would support removals or upgrades of dams.

The department says it will award $350,000 next year for projects targeting dams that are abandoned, unused or hazardous. government agencies, nonprofit groups and individuals can seek financial assistance for dam infrastructure work. The DNR says it looks for candidates that enhance aquatic resources and fishing opportunities while improving public safety.

Applications can be submitted through Nov. 13. For more information, visit the DNR’s website .