Effective November 24th, 2009 all children must be restrained in appropriate child restraint system, until they reach their 8th birthday, when riding in a motor vehicle. What is a “child restraint system”? A child restraint system is any device, designed for use in a motor vehicle to restrain, seat, or position children. An appropriate child restraint system is one that meets the child’s height and weight recommended by the manufacturer. Depending on the size of the child, it may be a safety seat or a booster seat. The vehicle’s safety belts alone are not a Safety Seat Picchild restraint system. Why use a booster seat? To protect your child and it’s the law! NYS is a primary enforcement state. An officer may stop your vehicle if the driver or passengers are not properly restrained. Fines for violating this new law may be up to $100.
Parents often believe that children are big enough to use seat belts when they are too heavy or tall for a traditional child safety seat. Seat belts are designed to fit adults, not children. Young children, who use only seat belts, rather than booster seats or child safety seats, are more likely to suffer life-threatening injuries, including severe damage to the brain, spleen, liver and spinal cord. Booster seats are recommended for children who are between the ages of 4 and 8, weigh over 40 pounds and under 4’9” tall. Most children in this age group are not big enough to fit into vehicle lap and shoulder belts properly without a booster seat. A booster seat helps the lap and shoulder belt fit properly by raising the child up to an adult’s sitting height. What types of booster seats are there? There are two major types of belt-positioning booster seats: Backless or low-back booster seats are used in vehicles with a high seat back in which the child’s head can be supported by the vehicle seat back or head restraint. High-back booster seats are used in vehicles with a low seat back OR no head restraint to support the child’s head and neck.
Benefits of booster seats: In addition to preventing needless motor vehicle-related injuries in children, there are other benefits to using booster seats, such as: Convenience: Booster seats are typically lightweight and can be easily switched from one car to another with little effort. Easy to Use: Since booster seats are used with the vehicle lap and shoulder belts, children can enjoy buckle up themselves when riding in a car. Availability: You can easily find booster seats at most discount chain stores, baby product stores or child safety product web sites. Children Enjoy the Ride: Many children like using booster seats because they can see out of the window better than when using just the seat belts. Comfort: Booster seats correctly position the lap and shoulder belt for a safer and more comfortable ride. Affordability: The cost of a booster seat can be as low as $20. For those in need of assistance contact a fitting station in your county @ www.safeny.com
Children should never place the shoulder belt behind their backs or under their arms. This would eliminate the protection for the upper part of the body and increases the risk of severe injury in a crash.
Always keep the booster seat buckled in, even when your child is not in it. During a sudden stop, an empty unbelted booster seat could fly around the vehicle causing injury to the driver or passengers.
FACTS about booster seats:
F A C T: Motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of unintentional injuries and deaths for children 4 to 8 years of age.
F A C T: Most crashes occur close to home (within 25 miles). A crash can happen when you least expect it, so it is important for everyone to buckle up every time they ride in a vehicle.
F A C T: Most crashes occur at speeds of less than 30 mph. severe injuries can happen even at low speeds. Properly installed child safety seats and booster seats can help save a child’s life.
F A C T : Children aged 2 to 5 who use adult seat belts are more likely to be severely injured and suffer head injury than children the same age who use child safety seats or booster seats.
F A C T: Children up to the age of four should use child safety seats until they reach the seat’s upper weight or height limit. At approximately age four, children should begin to use a booster seat with a lap and shoulder belt until they are 4’9? tall.
When can my child use just the seat belt in the vehicle? Your child must be 8 years old Your child should be @ least 4’9” tall or weigh 100 lbs. Your child should be able to sit with his or her back straight against the vehicle seat back. The knees bent comfortably at the seat’s edge without slouching. The lap belt should be low across the upper thighs or hips, not across the abdomen. The shoulder belt should lie across the chest and shoulder, not touching the neck or face. Your child should be able to ride this way for the entire trip.
For more information on Child Passenger Safety including booster seats, contact: New York State Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee (518) 474-5111 www.safeny.org National Highway Safety Administration 1-888-347-4236 www.nhtsa.dot.org National Center for Injury Prevention and Control (770) 488-4506 www.cdc.gov/ncipc Safety Belt Safe USA 1-800-745-SAFE www.carseat.org