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Did you know that motor vehicle crashes are the second leading cause of death for children 4 to 10 years old? 340 children this age died in 2012 alone, with 1/3 of these children riding without a restraint that could have saved their lives.
Booster seats protect children who are too big for a car seat but too small for a seat belt. Wisconsin law requires children to ride in a booster seat until they reach 4'9", 80 pounds, or 8 years old, but only a child's height determines correct seat belt fit - regardless of age or weight.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that all children ride in a booster seat until he or she is 4'9" or 57 inches tall.
Booster seats can reduce the risk of serious injury by 45% compared to seat belts alone. Although seat belts are safer than nothing at all, children who should be in booster seats but wear only seat belts are at risk of severe abdominal, head and spinal injuries in the event of a crash.
To find out if your child is ready to be out of a booster seat, try the 5-step test:
Does the child sit all the way back against the auto seat?
Do the child's knees bend comfortably at the edge of the auto seat?
Does the belt cross the shoulder between the neck and arm?
Is the lap belt as low as possible, touching the thighs?
Can the child stay seated like this for the whole trip?
If you answered "no" to any of these questions, your child still needs a booster seat to make both the lap and shoulder belt fit right for the best crash protection. Your child will be more comfortable, too!
For more information on keeping your kids safe, please visit uwhealth.org/safety-center.