I''m Dr. Joe Galati, and this is the Radio Medical Minute.

One of my personal concerns is a child riding in car seats properly. Individual states have laws governing car seat use. Children ages 4 through 15 are most likely to die in auto crashes while riding unrestrained. Last year, 418 children ages 4 to 8 were killed in auto crashes, with almost 53% of them unrestrained. Additional 1,209 children ages eight through 15 died in auto crashes, with 65% unrestrained, according to federal accident data.

Having children properly restrained in your own car is one thing, but what about when children ride in a caregiver''s car? How about a neighbor''s car?

A report by the National Safe Kids Campaign recently reported that caretakers transported 46% of infants to 8 year olds in adult seatbelts, when they should have been in car seats or booster seats. This is an alarming finding.

Before sending your child off in someone else''s vehicle, check the following:

  • If possible, asses the general condition of the care for wear, ride, load, and current inspection and registration stickers
  • Take a test ride with the caregiver evaluating driver skills, and attention to road safety
  • Observe the caregiver loading and restraining your child without instructions from you. Explain the proper use of the seat if questions arise.
  • In most situations, ask the driver to use approved car seats or booster seats, and install it in the rear seat properly. If the drive does not have their own seat, it would be worth the investment and peace of mind to provide them with an approved seat for your child.
  • If all else fails and you have doubts, find another driver.