Motor vehicle crashes remain the leading cause of death for children age 4 to 14. In fact, a third of all children in the U.S. age 14 and under are riding in the wrong restraint type for their age and size, according to a 2002 observational study conducted by the National SAFE KIDS Campaign.
As babies move from a car seat to a seatbelt, the step that parents most often miss is using a booster seat for a child who has outgrown a forward-facing toddler seat. In fact, fewer than 6 percent of children who should be in a booster seat use one, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Lap and shoulder belts are designed for an adult?s body and do not protect young children in a crash. Moreover, a safety belt that doesn?t fit right can cause serious injuries to a young child in a crash.
A booster seat raises a child up so that the seat belt fits right and can better protect your child in case of an accident. The shoulder belt should cross your child's chest and rest snugly on his shoulder, and the lap belt should rest low across the pelvis or hip area -- never across the stomach area. Your child's ears shouldn't be higher than the vehicles back seat cushion or the back of a high booster seat.
As a general rule, children who have outgrown child safety seats should be properly restrained in booster seats until they are at least 8 years old or 4 feet 9 inches tall.
There are different types of booster seats that you can purchase.
Among these (the kind that boost your child up so the seat belt fits better), your choices are:
These seats are used with a lap/shoulder belt and are only for use in vehicles with built-in head restraints. Once you've decided on a booster seat for your little one, here are a few safety tips when using it:
Source: National Highway Safety Traffic Administration
The information on this Web site is designed for educational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses without consulting your pediatrician or family doctor. Please consult a doctor with any questions or concerns you might have regarding your or your child's condition.