Did you know that car accidents are the number one cause of fatalities of children between the ages of 4 and 7? The correct child restraint device dramatically reduces the risk of injury and death to children involved in a serious collision. Without a booster seat, a child can suffer serious internal and/or spinal injuries in a crash if the seat belt rides up onto the soft stomach area instead of staying on the hip and thigh bones. Children between the ages of 3 and 9 years of age are at the greatest risk of sustaining Seat Belt Syndrome due to the improper fit of the lap and shoulder positions of an adult seat belt. Seat Belt Syndrome is a pattern of intra-abdominal and spinal injuries caused by the improper fit of seat belts. Unfortunately, too many parents allow their children to use lap and shoulder seat belts without a booster seat before their children are ready.
In 2009 , New York State amended Vehicle and Traffic Law Section 1229-c, requiring that all children under 8 years of age (previously age 7) use an appropriate child safety seat, which includes a booster seat. However, this is a MINIMUM requirement and many children are much better off using a booster seat even after they turn 8. According to pediatric experts, children should use a booster seat until they are 4 feet 9 inches tall, which most children don't reach until they are 10 or 11 years of age.
The booster seat helps to ensure that the seat belt properly passes across the child's chest, not the neck or throat. It also aids in the lap belt fitting across the child's hips, not their stomach or abdomen. Younger children should not graduate from a car safety seat to a booster seat until their ears reach the top of the safety seat's back or their shoulders go above the slots for the harness straps or they exceed the weight recommended by the seat manufacturer (typically 40 pounds).
I know from personal experience that kids don't really love to be strapped to a car seat or booster seat, but in my house it was never up for discussion. Knowing these facts there really is no choice. Just stick to your guns and eventually your kids will realize it's just something they need to do, sort of like brushing their teeth.
Keep it safe out there.
Mark T. Freeley, Esq. - www.NorthShoreInjuryLawyer.com