1. Parenting

Booster Seats Keep Kids Safe

Majority of Kids Who Should Be Riding In Booster Seats Aren't


It's a sad fact. Safety experts have identified proper booster seat use for children in the age four-to-eight range and weighing 40-80 pounds as one of the nation's most important child passenger safety priorities. However, the majority of America's 20 million children who should be riding in booster seats are not, according to the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA)Chairman Charley Smith.

NADA has created a national awareness campaign, called "Boost for Safety," in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The campaign is designed to bring the issue of booster seat usage to the forefront of public attention.

Car dealerships across America are hosting child seat safety events, as are health clinics and other medical-related fields that have a primary focus on children's health and safety.

A recently released NHTSA study from a nationwide telephone study conducted in 2003 reports these alarming statistics concerning child safety and the use of booster seats:

  • Just 21 percent of children aged 4-8 are "at least on occasion" riding in a booster seat while traveling in a vehicle.

  • Another 19 percent of children in this age range were restrained "at least on occasion" in a front-facing child safety seat.

  • 85 percent of parents and caregivers of young children had heard of booster seats. Among those who were aware of booster seats, 60 percent said they had used them "at some time" with their children.

  • Among the parents or caregivers who had seen or heard of booster seats, 22 percent had concerns about their safety. These parents/caregivers criticized booster seats as loose fitting and unstable systems that would not adequately restrain the child in a crash.
"This survey supports what our crash statistics imply, that children are at unnecessary risk of being injured in crashes because they are either in the wrong restraint for their size, or worse, totally unrestrained," NHTSA Administrator Jeffrey W. Runge, M.D.,said. "Children are not only safer, but more comfortable in a safety belt that fits, and that’s what a booster seat provides."

Children who have outgrown their child safety seat should ride in a booster seat until they are at least eight years old or 4 feet, 9 inches tall, according to NHTSA. Children placed in poorly fitting adult safety belts can suffer serious life-threatening injuries, or risk being ejected from a vehicle altogether in the event of a crash.
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