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Safety News from Youth Officer Jim Forti


Children Ages 4-8 Should be in a Booster Seat


Traffic crashes are the leading cause of death for children of every age from 6 to 14 years -- a fact that can be linked, in part, to the reality that most kids are unbuckled or improperly restrained in vehicles.  Children ages 4-8 are 60% more likely to be seriously injured if they are wearing just a seatbelt than if they are in a booster seat.  While most families are used to the idea of keeping children in car seats until they are around 4 years old, many are not aware that children need safety seats much longer than that.  Seat belts are designed to protect and restrain older children and adults, when properly adjusted to the person and worn correctly.  The safety experts say that seat belts do not fit children properly until they are 8, 9, 10 or even 11 years old.  As a result of this information, it is now recommended that children use a booster seat until they are at least 8 years of age.


The best way to determine if your child is ready to graduate from a booster seat to using the seat belt alone is to use the following criteria:

  1. the child can sit all the way back against the seat, with knees bent comfortably over the edge,

  2. the lap belt remains snugly across the bony areas of the lower hips/upper thighs (not the soft abdomen), and

  3. the shoulder belt remains snugly positioned across the chest and collarbone.

If any of this criteria are not met, it is likely that the child needs a belt-positioning booster seat.


For more information about booster seats, you can check the following web sites:  www.nhtsa.dot.gov/people/injury/childps/ or www.boostamerica.org


The Wayland Police Department has two certified child safety seat technicians, Sgt. Tom Galvin and Officer Chris Hanlon, who are available, by appointment, to properly install child safety seats for Wayland residents.  If you have questions about your child safety seat needs, contact them at 508-358-7941.



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