Knowing When to Use Them Could Save Your Child's Life!
Unfortunately, many parents stop using booster seats too early because their child repeatedly protests and says it is embarrassing, or because parents are unsure of the right time. Please don't remove the booster seat until your child is ready! According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), car accidents are the leading cause of death for children 14 and under, and failure to use proper restraints is a contributing factor in half of these fatalities.
When Should Parents Use Child Booster Seats?
Booster seats lift children so that seat belts are positioned properly — giving them greater protection and helping to reduce injuries in the event of a crash. According to the NHTSA, once children outgrow their forward-facing seats (usually around age 4 and 40 pounds), they should ride in booster seats, in the back seat, until the vehicle seat belts fit properly (minimum of 4'9" and 8-12 years of age).
Is Your Child Ready for Seat Belts Alone?
When children outgrow their booster seats, you still need to confirm that it is safe to use only a safety belt. The consequences of prematurely moving to seat belts alone can be disastrous, so we urge parents to review and adhere to the following guidelines — and to encourage other parents to do the same. To determine if your child is ready to ride without a booster, you need to be certain that the seat belt fits properly, and that:
- The child's knees bend comfortably over the seat's edge while the child's back rests firmly against the seat back.
- The lap belt lays low across the child's thighs, NEVER across the stomach area.
- The shoulder belt rests across the shoulder, NEVER across the child's neck.
Remember, NEVER let a child less than 4'9" ride without a booster seat, and NEVER graduate a child to seat belts only until you confirm that the seat belts fit properly!
Sources: NHTSA, CDC
Montlick & Associates is dedicated to helping injured people get the compensation they deserve. The firm has a long history of giving back to the community, not only in terms of providing free legal advice to accident victims, but also through our ongoing public service programs, including our latest Family Safety & Legal Tips Program. Please join us each week to view two-minute safety videos featuring our Family Safety Advocate, and download materials to help keep your family safe. Just visit Montlick.com or and click on “Family Safety and Legal Tips.”
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