Monthly Archive:: September 2008

Where do they grow these kids?


Booster until age 8 stickerWe’ve all seen it before. I’m talking about the information in pamphlets and flyers regarding kids and booster seats. Most read like this: Kids should remain in booster seats until they are at least 8 years old, unless they are 4’9″ tall.

Excuse me? I don’t know where this age 8 came from but where I live we don’t see too many kids who are almost 5 feet tall at 8 years or younger. I’m sure they’re out there but seriously, most 2nd and 3rd Graders are NOT the size of small adults. So what gives?

Honestly, I have no idea why it’s so common to see age 8 listed as the magic number when kids can graduate to the adult seatbelt. Yes, I realize that it often says “at least 8” but trust me when I say that it’s not the “at least” part that most parents remember. Most don’t even remember the 4’9″ part of the message. So where does that magic #8 come from? They sure aren’t referencing the CDC growth charts!

Maybe it’s a social change thing. We’re still getting a lot of parents used to the idea that their 6 and 7 year olds need a booster. Perhaps we’re worried that we’ll turn them off completely and they’ll think we’re all nuts if we tell them the truth. And age 8 seems like a reasonable number for most parents to ditch the booster seat, right?


Most 8 year old kids do not fit safely in the adult seatbelt of most vehicles. Sure, there are always exceptions, like some 3rd row seats which are clearly designed with smaller people in mind. But generally speaking, most kids do not actually pass the 5-Step Test until they are at least 57″ (4’9″ tall). For many kids even 57″ tall isn’t tall enough to get optimal belt fit.

Now, let’s have a look at those handy-dandy CDC growth charts. An 8 year old boy who measures in the 95th percentile for both weight and height is 35kg (77 lbs) and 54″ tall.  And an 8 year old boy who measures in the 50th percentile for weight and height is 25kg (55 lbs) and 50″ tall. According to the growth charts – a boy who measures in the 95th percentile for height won’t hit 4’9″ (57″) until he is 9 years old. That kid in the 50th percentile won’t get there until he’s 11. And a kid in the 10th percentile for height will be 13 before they reach 4’9″.

So I’d like to know where they grow these huge 8 year olds that everyone seems to be talking about? Our dearly departed mascot, Marvin, would have said it sounds a little fishy.

Baby on Board


Please welcome back Heather’s dh, Matt, for Guest Wednesday.

Knowing nothing about the technical aspects of car seats makes it difficult to write a blog entry about the technical aspects of car seats.  So, in thinking about a topic for another entry, I came across an obvious choice.  Cows.  But then something happened that gave me a better idea.  The cow thing will just have to wait.

1 AND 20 Will Never Go Away


Here’s a little background on how my Safe Kids coalition runs checkup events.  Because we are so short on trained CPS technician volunteers for our events, we train nursing students during their pediatrics rotation.  Despite being one of the busier coalitions in the country, checking thousands of seats per year through scheduled events and inspection stations, many of our technicians are trained for their jobs and we just don’t see them again; our state has one of the lowest recertification rates in the country.  Training the nurses is a win-win situation really.  We get 8-hour trained people helping us at our events which leaves our core of experienced techs and senior checkers to supervise them and work with families.  The nursing students then take with them knowledge of the importance of properly used and installed child safety seats and boosters and they can educate their patients (and doctors!) when they graduate.  Before we implemented this program, we were seeing wait times at our events of a half hour or more; now our wait times are around 10 minutes.  As parents, we all know how important it is to minimize waiting around in a car seat for a child, especially when the sun is beating down on him through the window and it’s over 100° outside, regardless of whether the air conditioning is on.

Ask Marvin #4


Today, Marvin receives an inquiry from a disgruntled DD, apparently an unhappy benefactor of Marvin’s advice!


“hi2u mr marvin,  im Jenny and im a 11 year old gurl and dood my mom is like, so mean 2 me u just wont beleive it.  its like so not nice its not even funny.  i mean- i was all telling my friends how lucky they are to have nice moms and they totally think my mom is teh worst!  we so send text messages all the time to each other all the time about my mom and how its so unfair to be me and my life is just awful beacuse of her and you cant even imagine how much worse it just got!