In two weeks my youngest son will turn 8. That means in New York State, where we live, he would be “legal” riding in just the adult seatbelt. But is following the legal minimums in your state really a good idea? You wouldn’t sign your kid out of school on his or her 16th birthday just because the law says you can, right? And you wouldn’t let your child marry their first cousin at age 14 (with parental consent, of course!) just because you live in Alabama where this is actually legal, would you? Do you see where I’m going with this?
Ditching the booster seat as soon as your state law allows it only means that you can’t be ticketed. It doesn’t mean that it’s recommendable or even safe. Restraint laws for children are the perfect example of laws that really fall short. When it comes to protecting our “big kids” from the #1 cause of death and injury in their age group, you need more than the law on your side. You need to insist that your kids (and those in your care) continue to use a booster seat until they can pass the 5-Step Test in the vehicle(s) that they ride in.
Adult seatbelts are just not designed to fit kids and uncomfortable kids are at much greater risk of serious injury because they either don’t buckle up at all or they misuse the seatbelt in ways that reduce effectiveness and contribute to internal injuries (see video below). Unfortunately, even a lap/shoulder seatbelt that is worn “correctly” by a child may cause injuries in a crash because it usually doesn’t contact the strong parts of the body – pelvic bones and collar bone. Very often the lap belt portion of the seatbelt crosses the abdomen instead which can lead to serious internal injuries and even paralysis.
Still not convinced or need help convincing someone else? Take a moment and check out this compelling video, Boost ’em in the Back Seat, courtesy of the Department of Pediatrics‘ Division of Community Health and Research (CHR) at Eastern Virginia Medical School (EVMS) in Norfolk, Virginia. Funding for this video and related research was provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
If you agree that this is important, life-saving information please share this compelling video and help us spread the word that BOOSTERS ARE FOR BIG KIDS!!!