Recently the law in CA changed to require children to be in a booster seat until the age of 8 years old. Many a mom was perturbed at this change (especially since some had already allowed their child out of a booster and this law meant convincing them to sit in a booster again). What I’d like to recommend is to look past the law and look at current safety recommendations. What is safest for your child? Car restraints are a pain but the alternative is unthinkable. I remember being two steps too far away from my son when he fell from the slide platform in our backyard and broke his arm last summer. I will forever have that memory flash in my mind. And every time I remember him falling my gut clenches, face flushes, and my heart breaks. You can bet I’m going to keep my kiddos safe in their car seat so that I know I have done everything in my power to prevent an injury to them and a horrible memory of my kids flying past me out my windshield. Dramatic? Maybe. Ask a parent of a child that has sustained an injury from a car accident.
So what are the current recommendations?
“Keep your baby rear-facing as long as possible. That can mean up to 35 or 40 pounds (and/2 years) in most current convertible seats, unless they outgrow it by height first.
Kids should be in a carseat or booster until they can be seated properly in a seatbelt. For most kids, this is around 8-12 years old or 4′ 9″ tall, but proper seatbelt fit is the most important factor.
Kids 12 and under should ALWAYS ride in the back seat. This cuts their risk of death by 36%.” - http://www.car-safety.org/basics.html
Children ages 2-4 and under 40 lbs should be in a car seat. Once they are beyond that, they are able to move into a booster seat per the CDC’s recommendations. For their reminder of car safety through all of the different stages, click HERE.
The video posted below shows why it is so important to follow the below recommendations:
“Children are not ready to be in a regular lap/shoulder seatbelt until:
Each passenger must have their own lap and shoulder belt! Never allow children to share a seatbelt.
Some organizations will also give limits like 80 or 100 pounds, 4’9″ in height or 8 years old. These are rough guidelines, not absolute limits. The criteria above are most important.” - http://www.car-safety.org/faq.html#Q9
I hope this was helpful to understanding why it is so important to keep your child properly restrained while riding in a car. To see the post on how long to keep your child rear facing see a MommaWords guest post HERE. The video on this post was VERY informative.