After children outgrow their car seats, parents need to take a careful look at their size and find an appropriate booster seat. Thousands of young children suffer serious injuries in motor vehicle collisions each year, and research shows that booster seats reduce the likelihood of serious injuries and death.
According to the New Mexico Motor Vehicle Division, children between the ages of 7 and 12 must ride in booster seats until the vehicle restraints fit correctly. Aside from finding a booster seat that is suitable for a child’s height and weight, parents must install the booster seat correctly.
How to install a booster seat
Although most booster seats have similar designs, parents should check the safety manual for the booster seat and the vehicle’s safety manual for specific installation instructions. Shoulder and lap belts work with the booster seat, and they are correct when the vehicle’s seat belt fits children securely across their chest, shoulder and upper thighs. If the lap belt rests above the pelvis, it can cause ruptures of internal organs. It can also affect the back, leading to spinal cord injuries.
Generally, booster seats have clips to allow parents to position these belts properly. Children under 13 should always ride in back seats.
How booster seats protect children
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, booster seats play a key role in protecting children between the ages of 4 and 8 during a traffic collision. In fact, research shows that booster seats reduce the likelihood of serious injuries for passengers in this age group by 45%.