Sunday, July 26, 2009

When to stop using Booster Seats

Viewer Question:

I noticed on HOI 19 news it said one time that if there was a story we would like to see as parents to email you and so I am doing so now. I am a single mom of 2 children 9.5 and 7yrs. My 7yr old and 9.5 yr old use booster seats. Although it's a big argument between daddy and mommy on whether our 9.5yr old is legally required to be in a booster seat or not. Where the controversy comes in is that some police in our police department say that it goes according to weight and being 8yrs old, others say that its 80lbs. Health Dept officials say it's by age or weight and I no longer KNOW officially and legally which is the legal standard as I don't want to be pulled over and find out my son isn't being protected enough. No matter who I call I get a conflicting story and I'm tired of arguing with daddy and my son cuz he has to use a booster seat with me but he doesn't with daddy.

I only want my son to be safe!!

Hi Nikki,
Here's the advice from the AAP: You are not going to get ticketed for having a nine year old in a car without a booster, but it might not be what's best for your child.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that parents, "Keep your child in a car safety seat for as long as possible. When your child is big enough, make sure the seat belts in your vehicle fit your child correctly. The shoulder belt should lie across the chest, not the neck or throat. The lap belt must be low and snug across the thighs, not the stomach. In addition, the child should be tall enough to sit against the vehicle seat back with her legs bent at the knees and feet hanging down. Seat belts are made for adults. If the seat belt does not fit your child correctly, she should stay in a booster seat until the adult seat belt fits. This is usually when the child reaches about 4' 9" in height and is between 8 to 12 years of age."

Illinois' new "Booster Law" went into effect January 1st, 2004. In most cases, it is now illegal to transport an unrestrained child in Illinois. The Child Passenger Protection Act requires that all children up to their 8th birthday must be secured in an appropriate child restraint system (a carseat or booster that meets NHTSA safety standards). Children between 8 and 16 years old must be seated in a seatbelt, according to the previous law that went into effect January 1, 2002. As these are primary moving violations, you can be stopped and ticketed if a child is observed to be improperly restrained in your vehicle.

I think it's more about what is the safest scenario for your child as opposed to the "law." I hope this helps settle your argument!

-NewsAnchorMom Jen

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