February 18, 2006
The University of Virginia's Safe Kids said too many children are being severely injured during car crashes because they're not properly restrained.
"Many children, ages 4 through 8 roughly, are riding in adult-size safety belts really earlier than it's safe to do so," said Emily Lister, Jefferson Area Safe Kids.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, children who have outgrown their car seats are much safer in booster seats if they happened to be involved in a car crash.
Through Jim Price Chevrolet and the University of Virginia's Safe Kids the Booster Seat Workshop showed parents how these seats can help correctly position the child's seat belt.
"What they're also are very good at is preventing misuse. They make the seat belts more comfortable for kids so that they fit well, they're not going to position the belt behind their back or under their arm," said Chris Sherwood, a research scientist.
If a child was involved in a head on collision and they were properly restrained in a booster seat they reduce the risk of injury. But if their seat belt was hiding under the child's arm or behind their back, they could be seriously injured.
That's why officials said it's safe to graduate a child to an adult seat when they reach 4 feet 9 inches tall and weight between 80 and 100 pounds. Most kids reach those milestones around 8 years old.
"The ideal way is to test the child [to see how well] they fit in the seat," said Sherwood.
If children can comfortably bend their knees, sit with the lab belt over their thigh and have their shoulder belt fit between their shoulder and their neck, then their ready to sit like an adult.
Safe Kids says they are promoting booster seats because motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death in children ages 3 to 18.