Booster seats are a must, not an option!
Booster seats are needed until at least age 8…maybe longer for your child’s safety!!
We had a wonderful 4th of July, filled with food, fun, and a major blessing. A very good family friend and his children, age 8 and 5, were hit by a truck running a red light totaling their van. Both children were restrained in booster seats. His wife called me to pick up the children who were not harmed from the ER while her husband had further testing. On the way to pick them up, we stopped at their home and picked up their 2 other booster seats in the garage to install in my car. Arriving at the ER, both children were unhurt and had just finished slushies in celebration of the 4th…got to LOVE those pediatric ERs, nurses and physicians! They were a little shaken up, but not a scratch, what a huge blessing and what a statement of support for booster seats and older children. So many children use adult seat belts once they outgrow the weight or height of their forward facing car seat. It is law for children to use proper child restraint, which includes a booster seats, until age 8 and for their safety it is an absolute necessity, and in actuality booster seats may be needed longer than age 8! So many parents complain that it is inconvenient to haul the booster seat from car to car for older children, especially for carpooling to and from school, and children may complain about using them because their friends do not. After seeing these precious children safe, who could dispute the need for booster seats for children who are not quite big enough to position the adult seat belt properly? In my mind, there is no convincing argument that outweighs the benefits…booster seats are a must until AT LEAST age 8 and many times a few years AFTER age 8! The size of the child is more important than the age of the child.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) states:
“All children whose weight or height is above the forward-facing limit for their car seat should use a Belt-Positioning Booster Seat until the vehicle seat belt fits properly, typically when they have reached 4 feet 9 inches in height and are between 8 and 12 years of age.”
When do you switch your child to a booster?
- When your child exceeds the weight or height limitations allowed for your forward facing car seat with 5 point harness. These limits are listed on the seat and in the instruction book.
- When your child’s shoulders are above the top slot for the 5 point harness belt.
- When your child is tall enough that his or her ears have reached the top of the hard shell of the car seat.
There are several different types of booster seats on the market, but all of them raise a child up so that the lap and shoulder belts are positioned over your child’s strong bones and not soft tissue or organs. The booster also holds your child more securely in place so he or she is not as easily ejected from the vehicle during a crash. There are several other tips regarding booster seats at the Healthy Children website of the AAP.
So, is it inconvenient to put your child in a booster seat during the school age years? Sometimes. Is carpool a little more difficult when you have booster seats? Probably. Will some children complain about booster seats because other children are not using them? Yep, until it becomes the norm…kind of like bike helmets! Are booster seats a must? After looking at two perfectly healthy children sleeping peacefully last night (we had a sleep over so Mom could take care of a very sore but not seriously injured Dad) how could booster seats be anything but an absolute MUST! So, follow the law, but also look at your child. If your child is older than age 8 but the adult seat belts are not able to be positioned correctly for their safety, keep him in the booster seat. Let’s keep our kids safe.
Take a breath, enjoy the joyful moments of each day, and remember you don’t have to be perfect to be the perfect parent.