Booster Seat Basics
By Jayne O'Donnell
I know, I know. Getting a 6-year-old who has been riding in the car like a "big girl" to go back to a child seat would be no easy task. But now there's considerable evidence that keeping older kids in booster seats until they reach small-adult size reduces injuries and saves lives.
Still, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says fewer than 7 percent of the 20 million U.S. children ages 4 to 8 are riding in booster seats. That's a frightening statistic when you consider that more than 500 children in this age group are killed in car accidents each year, and thousands more are injured. Safety experts say many of the deaths and injuries could be prevented by the proper use of booster seats.
Understanding the Necessity
When children wear adult safety belts too soon, their internal organs can be injured if the belts ride up and slice into their stomachs in a crash. If shoulder belts are put behind their backs, their torsos can jackknife forward, increasing the chance of head and abdominal injuries. More than 80 percent of 4- to 8-year-old passengers in 30,000 car crashes studied by Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and State Farm Insurance were improperly restrained in adult-size safety belts. And the results were often tragic.
Autumn Alexander Skeen lost her 4-year-old son in a crash when an adult seat belt failed to keep him inside the car. Skeen is now a spokeswoman for Ford Motor Company's educational campaign promoting booster-seat use. "No parent should ever know the pain of losing a child, especially if death or injury is easily preventable," Skeen says.
A Simple Solution
Booster seats raise children up off the seat to position them in adult belts properly. These special seats are recommended for kids who weigh 40 to 80 pounds and are intended for use in the back seat of vehicles that have three-point lap/shoulder belts. (Remember, children younger than 13 should never ride up front in a car that has front air bags.) Children can usually safely use adult belts in the back seat once they reach a height of four feet nine inches and weigh 80 pounds.
Booster seats are available at many major department stores and at Web sites and superstores that carry children's products. Your vehicle's manufacturer or your insurance company may also be able to make suggestions about where to buy a booster seat in your neighborhood. Some insurance and car companies even have special programs that offer the seats for free or at a discount.
ClubMom's AutoPro, Jayne O'Donnell, is a Washington, D.C.-based reporter (and new mom!) whose automotive expertise and investigative reporting skills have helped break some of the biggest auto-safety stories of the past several years.
Copyright © 1999-2002 ClubMom, Inc. All rights reserved.
Data Show Older
Children Dying More Frequently, Not Buckling Up in Car Crashes, Says
Tips on Flying with
Children and Car Seats from the National Safe Kids Campaign
Car Riding Rules for Tots and Teens from Club Mom - Safety issues you may not have considered before
Car Safety Travel News:
Safe Kids Canada applauds Ontario Minister for introducing booster seat bill aimed at reducing injuries among young children
National SAFE KIDS Campaign to Open 30 New Child Safety Seat Inspection Stations Across the Country as Data Reveals Incorrect Use of Child Safety Seats Still a Major Problem
Travel Safety News - Preventing Heat Injury and Entrapment in Cars
For Car Travel Safety Tips Click Below:
For Car Travel Tips Click Below:
Spring Car Care Tips Click
For Winter Driving Tips Click Below:
For Tips on Using and Purchasing Travel Equipment
for Babies Click Below:
Tips for Renting a Car from Enterprise Rent-a-Car - Car Rental Agency
For Automotive Products go to
Need a Car Seat, Booster or Travel
System - visit
See the following sections for specific tips:
For General Travel Tips Click on
Vacation Tips Click Below:
For Tips on Taking a Dude Ranch Vacation Click on
For Tips on Eating out with Children
For Tips on Enjoying Live Theatre
with Children Click Below:
For Tips on Buying
Toys Click Below:
For Travelling with
Teenagers Tips Click on
For Motion Sickness
Tips Click on
For Tips on Who and What to Tip Click Below:
For Travel Tips - Children with
Severe Allergies Click on
For Winter - Ski
Holiday Tips Click on
For Air Travel Tips Click on
For Train Travel Tips
For games to play while travelling Click Below
For Amusement Park Tips Click Below
For Tips on Taking Pictures Click Below:
For Tips on Protecting Your Home Click Below:
For Travel Safety Tips Click
To Return to Travel Tips Click Below