When is your child ready to lose the booster seat?
Your child has transitioned from a car seat to a booster seat. She’s growing like crazy, so maybe she really doesn’t need any car safety seat at all. Or does she?
According to a law just passed in Kentucky, she’ll need to be in a booster until she is 57 inches or 8 years old. This is now consistent with what is recommended by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and already enacted in Indiana.
Booster seats raise the child to a safe level so that the vehicle’s lap and shoulder belts fit properly, making them less likely to injure the child if the vehicle were involved in a crash. Safe Kids Worldwide polled 1,000 parents of 4- to 10-year olds and found that nine of 10 parents stop using a booster seat too early.
“If your child’s legs do not bend over the seat naturally at the knee or the shoulder strap is not across the middle of the chest, in line with the shoulder bone, those are sure signs he or she is not ready to stop using the booster,” said Sharon Rengers, R.N., child advocate with the Children’s Hospital Foundation Office of Child Advocacy of Norton Children’s Hospital. “A child who has not reached 57 inches is not yet tall enough to sit on the seat and will slouch down to be more comfortable, causing the lap belt to lay over the stomach and increasing the likelihood of a serious injury.”
“Parents may be eager to lose the car seat and booster seat, but the inconvenience is worth the lessened risk of injury to a child,” Rengers said. “These safety devices reduce injury and death to children by as much as 60 percent.”