Friday, October 2, 2009

The right protection for kids

On October 7, Ohio’s new booster seat law will go into effect.  The law requires federally approved booster seats for children ages 4 to 8 years old and who are less than 4 feet, 9 inches in height.

Staff and physicians at Dayton Children's have fought for this law because we know it's the right thing for kids. When it comes to booster seats - it's all about fit. Seat belt systems in cars are designed to fit a 170 pound man - not a 40 pound child.

When a seat belt doesn't fit a child, he or she tends to move away from the vehicle seatback creating space behind the child which may allow for the child to be ejected. Children may also tuck the shoulder belt behind their back leaving no upper body protection which could result in severe injury to the abdomen, neck and head.

In some cases, without a booster seat, an adult seat belt can actually cause injury in the event of a crash rather than preventing it. For instance, if the lap belt rests on a child’s stomach, which typically happens without a booster seat, a child could suffer liver, spleen, or spinal cord damage in a crash.

Here is an example of a child not using a booster seat.  See how the lap belt rides up on his abdomen and the shoulder belt is too close to his neck.

Boosters are designed to keep the lap belt low across the child’s hips, and many have a shoulder harness guide to keep the shoulder belt on the center of the child’s shoulder. By positioning a seat belt in these locations the crash force is spread to the skeleton instead of the soft tissue like the abdomen.

Using a booster seat, the booster seat fits this child in the "hard parts of his body" - low across the hips and in the middle of the shoulder.

For more information about booster seats and achiving the "right fit" visit

1 comment:

ThreeBeans said...

Great blog! I'd like to point out that even though the law caps at 8 years of age, almost no eight year olds can ride safely in a seatbelt alone. Boosters are really needed to around the 10th to 12th birthdays, depending on the build of the child.

~Child Passenger Safety Technician