2003 Motor Vehicle Occupant Safety Survey: Child Car Seat Report

CHAPTER 2: TRANSPORTERS OF YOUNG CHILDREN

Driving With A Child Under Age 9
About half of all drivers had driven a motor vehicle in the past year with a child under age 9 as a passenger. Twenty-two percent had driven a child in that age range that lived in their household. A slightly larger percentage of the driver population (29%) did not live with a child under the age of nine but nonetheless had driven a child of that age in the past year. Thus efforts to educate the public about the importance of proper restraint use for children would miss a large proportion of drivers who transport children if limited to those residing in the child’s household.

Figure 19
Driven In Past Year With Child Passenger Under Age 9

Qx: Do you ever drive with (the child/ at least one of the children under age 9) that you just mentioned in your (car/truck/van)? Qx: In the past 12 months, have you driven with any children under age 9?
Base: Drives a motor vehicle.
Unweighted N=5509
*Includes 6 drivers who drove children under 9 living outside the household, but not children under 9 who were living within their household. The rest of this chapter treats them as drivers who do not live with a young child.
The sum of the percentages in the pie chart does not equal 100% because the numbers are rounded.

Drivers Who Do Not Live With The Child
Whereas the majority of drivers who had transported a child under age nine in the past year did not live with a child that age, their frequency of transporting young children would be expected to be less than that of drivers who live with young children. Figure 20 suggests that is the case. Over half (52%) of drivers who drove with a child passenger under age 9 in the past year, despite not living with a child in that age range, did so only a few days a year. Still, 15% of these drivers drove one or more young children either almost every day (3%) or a few days a week (12%). Another 32% drove one or more young children a few days a month.

Figure 20
Frequency Of Driving Children Under Age 9:
Drivers Who Do Not Live With A Young Child

Qx: How often do you drive with children under age nine?
Base: Does not live with a child under age nine, but has driven with child passengers in that age range in the past year.
Unweighted N=1514

When asked their relationship to the young child(ren) outside their household whom they drove, 43% said that they were the grandparents. Small percentages answered that they were the parents/step-parents (4%) or were siblings (2%). One-third (33%) responded that they were some “other relative” than those just mentioned. About one-fifth said they were a non-relative (21%).

Figure 21
Relationship To Child Outside Household Whom They Drive:
Drivers Not Living With Young Child

Qx: What is your relationship to the child or children under age 9 that you at least sometimes drive with?
Base: Does not live with a child under age 9, but has driven with child passengers in that age range in the past year. Unweighted N=1514
Total exceeds 100% due to multiple responses (i.e., they drove with both grandchildren and other children).

As shown on page 26, persons who did not live with a young child but had driven one or more young children in the past year most often were the child(ren)’s grandparents or “other relatives.” Figure 22 compares these two groups in their reported frequency of driving young children. It shows that grandparents transported children more often. Among drivers who did not live with a young child but said they drove a young grandchild in the past year, 57%3 drove the grandchild at least a few days a month. The comparable figure was 36% for “other relatives” (excluding parents and siblings), and 47% for the total sample (relatives and non-relatives combined).

Figure 22
Frequency Grandparents/Other Relatives Drive Child: Drivers Who Don’t Live With Young Child

Qx: What is your relationship to the child or children under age 9 that you at least sometimes drive with?
Qx: How often do you drive with children under age 9?
Base: Does not live with a child under age 9, but has driven with child passengers in that age range in the past year. Unweighted N's listed above.

* Excludes parents/step-parents and siblings.

At this point in the interview, those respondents who said they were the parents of the children outside the household they had driven were skipped to a section of the survey asking detailed child restraint questions. The interviewers asked the remaining respondents (the grandparents, other relatives, other non-relatives) how often the child(ren) used restraints when riding with them. Almost all said that the child was in a child car seat or else a safety belt either all the time (93%) or most of the time (3%).

Figure 23
How Often Child Uses Car Seat Or Safety Belt: Drivers (Not Parents)
Of Children Outside Home

Qx: When you are driving and children under age 9 are riding with you, would you say that they are in a child car seat, booster seat, or a seat belt all of the time, most of the time, some of the time, rarely, or never?
Base: Does not live with a child under age nine, but has driven with child passengers in that age range in the past year (who were not their own children).

Unweighted N=1444

3When a percentage is cited in text that combines two or more response categories, it is combined using non-rounded numbers. That combined percentage may differ slightly from the sum of the listed percentages for the component categories because the category percentages are rounded numbers.

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