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The national average for seat belt usage is at an all time high-82 percent. In the Western states it is even better at 93%, but even as the fatality rate decreases as seat belt use increases, there are still too many avoidable fatalities due to restraint use in America. Even though all 50 states have some sort of restraint law for children, it is still the number one killer of children under 14.
Just recently a 5 year California boy was killed in a car crash because he had been sitting on his grandmother’s lap while she was driving. Although kids at this age like to do this, it is too dangerous to allow a child to go unrestrained in a car while driving. It was a tragic, preventable accident. If this boy had been a booster seat, he would be alive today.
So how does a parent know when their child is ready to move from a regular car seat to a booster seat? The government recommends car seats for children up to 40 pounds and booster seats for children between 40 and 100 pounds and they are 8 years old or 4 feet 9 inches tall. All booster seats should be placed in the back seat of the car. All children should ride in the back seat until age 13.
A recent study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, IIHS recently studied the effects of booster seats and discovered that a number of the available popular brands do not adequately protect a young child in a automobile crash. In fact many are even the cause for serious bodily injury to the child. Of the 41 seats tested, 13 had a poor performance and are not recommended.
The IIHS booster seats that rated highest were: Fisher Price Safety Voyage, The Britax Parkway and Monarch, The LaRoche Bros, Teddy Bear, the backless, Graco Turbobooster, the backless Combi Kobuk and the Recaro Young Style. Volvo booster cushion and Safeguard Go when it’s used as a backless boos On the other hand, the Institute did not recommend: Compass B505, Compass B510, Cosco/Dorel Traveler, Evenflo Big Kid Confidence, Safety Angel Ride Ryte, Cosco/Dorel Alpha Omega, Cosco/Dorel (Eddie Bauer) Summit, Cosco Highback Booster, Dorel/Safety 1st (Eddie Bauer) Prospect, Evenflo Chase Comfort Touch, Evenflo Generations, Graco CarGo Zephyr, and Safety 1st/Dorel Intera.
The best advice for parents is to try a couple devices in their automobiles and see how they fit. The lap belt should fit flat across a child’s upper thigh, not across the soft abdomen, which is more likely to be injured in an accident. Severe personal injuries such a liver, spleen and other internal injuries are quite possible.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration issues ratings for child seats on its Web site: In addition, if you would like to read the full study from the IIHS, visit for further details. And remember, even if your booster seat did poorly in this evaluation, experts’ advise that it is still safer to have your child restrained than to have them not.
If you or your child has been injured in accident, please don’t hesitate to contact an experienced personal injury attorney immediately.

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