New Report Shows that Older Children Involved in Car Accidents Still Benefit from Booster Seats: Is it Time for Lawmakers to Adjust the Age for Booster Seats
Frank J. Dito, Jr.
Most parents quickly realize by the time their children are four or five years old that they are not ready to place their children in the car without a child safety seat which is why most states require that children be in a booster seat when they ride in the car. Age requirements for booster seats vary from state to state but most states require a child to stay in a booster seat until they are between the ages of 6 and 8. Surprisingly only 25 states and the District of Columbia require children to ride in a booster seat until they are 8 years of age and three states - Florida, Arizona and South Dakota - do not have any laws in place regarding booster seats.
You will want to make sure your child is in the appropriate seat for their age, height and weight. Here are guidelines that the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends it will help you determine what type of safety seat or restraint your child should be using:
- Infants - you can place an infant in either an infant seat or a rear-facing convertible seat until they are at least a year old and weigh at least 20 lbs.
- Toddlers/Preschool age children - a child this age should be placed in either a rear-facing or forward-facing convertible car seat. Children should stay in the convertible seat in its rear-facing position for as long as possible but after they are over a year old and over 20 lbs you have the option of turning the convertible car seat to face forward.
- School age children - starting at the age of 4 children who have outgrown their forward facing car seats and weigh more than 40 lbs can be put in a booster seat. They should continue to use a booster seat until they are between the ages of 8 and 12 years of age and are at least 4'9" in height.
- Older children - once your child is old enough and fill the height requirements to ride in the car without a booster seat they should continue to ride in the back seat of the car with a seat belt on until they are 13 years old.
Following these rules will reduce the risk of your child being severely injured in a car accident if you are ever involved in one. Another thing that you will want to consider doing regardless of if your child is currently in an infant seat, convertible seat or booster seat is going to a local safety seat inspection location to have a professional check your child safety seat to make sure it is installed properly. It will only take a few minutes and it is free. To locate a safety seat inspection station you can enter your zip code or you can call 1-866-SEAT-CHECK.
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