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Old 01-31-2012, 01:06 PM
 
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Are these guidelines relatively recent? Like in the last ten years? I'm fairly certain I never had any sort of device after I outgrew the carseat, which must have been before kindergarten. We had to sit in the backseat til we were 12, but that's it.

It all seems a bit overzealous to me and I cringe at the thought of a petite child having to sit in some kind of booster into their teens. But I'm neither a parent nor a child, so maybe the attitudes have changed a lot since I was a wee one.
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Old 01-31-2012, 01:08 PM
 
Location: here
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UnexpectedError View Post
Are these guidelines relatively recent? Like in the last ten years? I'm fairly certain I never had any sort of device after I outgrew the carseat, which must have been before kindergarten. We had to sit in the backseat til we were 12, but that's it.

It all seems a bit overzealous to me and I cringe at the thought of a petite child having to sit in some kind of booster into their teens. But I'm neither a parent nor a child, so maybe the attitudes have changed a lot since I was a wee one.
yes they are.
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Old 01-31-2012, 01:12 PM
 
Location: California
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Honestly, I'd cheat too. Mostly because I've already raised kids a different way and only "boosted' one of them for a very short time frame. My other one was big and went from car seat to regular seat with a seat belt adjuster.

I know I know...but one you've done something you can't quite figure the hysteria.
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Old 01-31-2012, 01:26 PM
 
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I try to abide by the guidelines, but admit to bending them from time-to-time on short trips (I know, take me out and shoot me). One of the most frustrating ones for me was being "required" to have my son in a booster despite the fact our car at the time (Audi A6) had fully adjustable seatbelts. In fact, the factory installed adjustable seatbelts that properly position the shoulder harness for a child, but let the child sit in the cars actual seat are statistically safer then boosters. Still though, I wasn't going to risk a ticket by not using one.

I will have my son out of a booster as soon as he's able to legally and he is pretty close. My girls are both still in 5-point forward facing harnesses. One of them is a couple pounds shy of booster range, but she is very slender and I think she'll stay in the car seat a little longer with the exception of maybe short trips in my car. So, we abide by the law even if I think it is a little over-the-top. I would also never transport another kid in my car if I didn't have the proper required seat for them.

One thing that does surprise me though is how many people I do see that don't use them. I've seen some cases of 6 kids under 8 piled in an Escalade with no seats in sight and cases of 3 kids under 5 sitting in the back of a 20 year old Pontiac with no seats as well. The latter I can somewhat understand based on finances (yes, it is judging the book by it's cover), but the former is one I just don't get.
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Old 01-31-2012, 01:31 PM
 
Location: Swisshelm Park, Pittsburgh, PA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zimbochick View Post
It doesn't really surprise me on the upper end of the 4-8 age range. I would not allow my 4-year old to ride without a booster but when my daughter was 7, there were a handful of times I let her ride without a booster in someone else's car or in a rental car (usually to my mom's house from the airport knowing that there was a booster available for her at my mom's for the rest of the trip). My rationale was always that she is big for her age - ie bigger than some 8 year olds - so I didn't see that it was a big deal.

Now that she is 8 and able to ride with a seatbelt only legally in PA, I do not push the issue in other people's cars. I always arrange for children who are under 8 to have a booster in my car. When my 8-year old is in our cars, she still sits in a booster - which I do think is a little safer, she is more comfortable AND she is providing a good example for her little brother. When she and a friend ride in my car, I usually have them in the 2 booster seats, but if I had two 8-year olds and my son (4), I would probably have the big kids use the seatbelts only rather than deal with 3 boosters. We have done it, but it is very tricky to get 3 boosters in our backseat.

To my understanding, there is still very little hard data on the safety benefits of boosters for older kids (esp. the guideline that kids stay in a booster until they are 4'8'') and a strong lobby to pass strict booster seat laws in the name of "safety". I try not to get caught up in it all. I do agree with the poster that suggested that size and weight should play a bigger role than age, though.
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Old 01-31-2012, 01:47 PM
 
Location: Hillsborough
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One of the most frustrating ones for me was being "required" to have my son in a booster despite the fact our car at the time (Audi A6) had fully adjustable seatbelts.
The shoulder belt placement is only one part of the 5-Step Test.

When can my child stop using a booster?

The 5-Step Test
Put your child in the car and have her sit like an adult, without a booster. Buckle the seat belt over her. Now answer these questions:

* 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 can answer "yes" to every question, your child is okay to ride without a booster. If you answer "no" to any of these questions, your child still needs a booster in order to be safe.
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Old 01-31-2012, 01:48 PM
 
Location: Hillsborough
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Also of interest:

Belt-Positioning Booster Seats and Reduction in Risk of Injury Among Children in Vehicle Crashes
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Old 01-31-2012, 01:48 PM
 
14,777 posts, read 34,561,764 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scientist Mom View Post
To my understanding, there is still very little hard data on the safety benefits of boosters for older kids (esp. the guideline that kids stay in a booster until they are 4'8'') and a strong lobby to pass strict booster seat laws in the name of "safety". I try not to get caught up in it all. I do agree with the poster that suggested that size and weight should play a bigger role than age, though.
The booster seat laws and recommendations are based on raising children up to the height that is used in automobile testing and engineering to meet safety standards. Basically, seatbelts are designed for a person that is a certain height, in general the 4'9" to 6' range in a rear seat. The booster places the kid within this range, but what is left out is the role that adjustable seatbelts could play. Many manufacturers offer adjustable seatbelts as standard in the rear seats and if used properly are just as safe, if not safer than booster seats, yet these systems are not considered "acceptable" in states with booster seat laws.

Overall I agree with you thought about height and weight. I understand the age factor on younger kids when it comes to rear vs. forward, etc., but by the time a kid is big enough for a booster it really isn't about age anymore and about height and weight. FWIW...HEIGHT is really the only concern when it comes to how the seatbelt was engineered to be used properly. The weight caps at 80 were put in place because that was the maximum weight that boosters could efficiently handle at the time the laws were created and has no foundation in terms of actual safety when using the cars seatbelt, that is determined by height. A 5' tall kid who weighs 75 pounds is safe in a regular belt, where as a kid who is 4'6" but weighs 85 pounds should still be in a booster.
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Old 01-31-2012, 01:55 PM
 
14,777 posts, read 34,561,764 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ADVentive View Post
The shoulder belt placement is only one part of the 5-Step Test.

When can my child stop using a booster?

The 5-Step Test
Put your child in the car and have her sit like an adult, without a booster. Buckle the seat belt over her. Now answer these questions:

* 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 can answer "yes" to every question, your child is okay to ride without a booster. If you answer "no" to any of these questions, your child still needs a booster in order to be safe.
In my case, it would have been yes for all five. However, I would have been in violation of NJ state law if I did not use a booster.
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Old 01-31-2012, 01:57 PM
 
Location: Geneva, IL
12,976 posts, read 11,806,901 times
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I think there is a lot of common sense that should be used together with the guidelines. Both of my kids are tall for their age, and boosters by 8 cut off the circulation in their legs, so we moved the boosters out. I think some of the other practices are far more dangerous, such as double-buckling. This is a LETHAL practice, very, very bad news. And of course kids riding in the cargo section of a van or SUV unrestrained, while fun, is particularly stupid.
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