Sunday, May 20, 2012

Keeping Children Safe In Crashes: Booster Seats

For parents of children who have outgrown their forward-facing seats

More than 1,000 children 12 and younger die in passenger vehicles crashes every year, and more than 100,000 are injured. Parents can reduce the risk to their kids by properly securing them in the back seats.

The "Keeping Children Safe In Crashes" series of videos help parents choose the right type of restraint for their child's age and size and provide general information on installation and use.

Children should ride in harness-equipped child restraints as long as possible, up to the height and weight limit of the seats. When they have outgrown child restraints, children should use belt-positioning booster seats until adult seat belts fit properly, usually when a child reaches 4'9" in height and 80 pounds. Boosters elevate children to improve the fit of the vehicle's three-point safety belts, which are designed for adults and not children. There are highback boosters, backless boosters, and built-in boosters. Some dual-use highbacks convert to backless by removing their backs. Highbacks have built-in guides to route shoulder belts and lap belts and can offer some head support in vehicles without head restraints in the rear seat. Backless have lap belt guides but may need a plastic clip to properly position shoulder belts in many vehicles. Combination and 3-in-1 seats are designed to be used as boosters as children grow. In booster mode, parents remove the built-in harness and use the vehicle lap and shoulder belts to restrain their child. Some manufacturers have built-in booster seats in their vehicles.