The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration released new guidelines in March 2011, which encouraged parents to forgo any age-related restrictions for car seats and booster seats. Essentially, they are encouraging caregivers to keep a child in each seat – rear-facing, forward facing restraint seats, and booster seats – for as long as possible before moving to the next higher designation. In other words, age should not be a factor when deciding to move an infant from the rear-facing seat to the forward-facing alternative. As long as the child fits comfortably in the seat and meets the outlined weight guidelines, then he or she is safest in the rear-facing. This information came after another review of accident statistics and the professionals are strongly urging parents to do as much as they can to prevent any injuries in case of an accident.
One of the greatest things that a parent can do for a young child is to invest in a booster seat. Just because a child has exceeded the weight requirements of a forward-facing restraint seat doesn’t mean that he or she is ready for a safety belt alone. The safety straps in vehicles were not designed for children. They are built to accommodate full grown adults and, therefore, will not fall in the right places on a child’s body. Ultimately, they could do more harm than good in a Tampa auto accident, if used without a booster seat.
The booster seat ensures that the belts fall as they should on the child – across the lap and the chest – rather than hitting the belly and neck at impact. Otherwise, the child would be 60 percent more likely to suffer internal injuries or another sort of potentially fatal blow.
All children falling in the category of 40 to 80 pounds should be placed in a booster seat each and every time he gets in the car. However, some children will require the booster seat even after surpassing the 80-pound guideline. If the child cannot sit back against the seat and still bend his or her legs comfortably over the front, then a booster seat is highly recommended. It could save his or her life.