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April 3, 2005 -- Booster Seat Required
If you have kids, at some point you will wonder when they no longer need a car seat. In most cases, as your kids grow they will start complaining about the car seat and want to move into an adult seat and seat belt.
Most parents start off very attentive and responsible on this issue. New born babies are put in rear facing car seats - usually until they reach about twenty pounds. At that point they can typically sit up and support their head and neck fairly well and are turned forward facing in the same car seat. But as a baby becomes a toddler and no longer fit well in the common five-point harness car seat, what come next. Adult seats and seatbelts are not the answer.
The NHTSA (national highway traffic safety administration) provides extensive information on child seats for cars in a simple to read table. For young children between 4 and 8 years old they recommend a booster seat. Using a regular seat belt with children less than 4 feet 9 inches is very dangerous. The seatbelt hits their body in the wrong places. In an accident, it can either injure their neck (or strangle them) or injure their abdomen. A booster seat raises the child up and allows them to use the standard seat belt.
All in One Car Seat
To save you some money look for a car seat that will work in all three positions. It will start out facing the back of your car. Then as the child reaches 1 year old and 20 pounds the seat will work facing forward. Finally, as your child reaches 4 years old and 40 pounds you can convert it to a booster. Also look for a cup holder - it's a great place to stash crayons.
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