Ohio’s new booster seat law requires federally approved booster seats for children ages 4 to 8-years-old and who are under 4 feet, 9 inches in height. This law bridges the gap for children who have outgrown their forward-facing harness seat, usually around 4-years-old and 40 pounds, and an age and size where they fit into an adult seat belt.
Children, 4 to 8-years-old, are too small to be protected adequately by the car’s seat belt system, which is designed for an adult. Booster seats simply lift the child up so the child fits in a vehicle seat belt system more like an adult.
Many times, ff the seat belt doesn’t fit a child, he or she tends to move away from the vehicle seatback creating space behind the child which may allow for the child to be ejected. Some children may also tuck the shoulder belt behind their back leaving no upper body protection which could result in severe injury to the abdomen, neck and head.
Boosters are designed to keep the lap belt low across the child’s hips, and many have a shoulder harness guide to keep the shoulder belt on the center of the child’s shoulder.
A seat belt should rest on the harder parts of the skeleton – the hip and the shoulder – to spread the crash force to those areas instead of soft tissue like the abdomen.
Types of Booster Seats
Booster seats come in many types and styles. Check the label for the weight limits and always follow the manufacturer’s guidelines.
Combination child seat/booster seat: This seat converts from a five-point harness system to a belt-positioning booster seat. Check instruction manual or the car seat label for exact weight and height limits.
No-back booster: This seat must be used with a lap/shoulder-style seat belt. It is best if your car’s seat back or headrests come above your child’s ears when he or she is sitting in the booster seat. This model is easy to pack up and move from car to car.
High-back booster: This seat must be used with a lap/shoulder style seat belt. A high-back booster protects against whiplash in cars with low seat backs. It can be used in cars with or without headrests. The high back also supports a sleeping child. A high-back booster may also have seat belt guides to help position the seat belt.
Booster seats work best when they are used correctly. Be sure to read the child safety seat instructions and the vehicle owner’s manual information on child safety seats. If this seat is not installed correctly, it could fail to protect the child. Serious injury or death could result.
The Top Five Good Booster Seat Habits
- Use a booster seat correctly in a back seat every time your child rides in a car.
- A booster seat uses no harness. It uses the vehicle’s lap and shoulder belts only. Be sure the safety belt is properly buckled.
- Booster seats are not installed tightly. They sit on the vehicle seat; the child buckles the lap and shoulder belt and wears the safety belt like you do. Never use only the lap belt.
- Use the vehicle’s lap and shoulder belts on every booster seat. Never place the shoulder belt under the child’s arm or behind the child’s back.
- Be sure all occupants wear safety belts correctly every time. Children learn from watching you.
One other reminder is to secure the booster seat in the car with the lap and shoulder belt when not in use. This will reduce the likelihood that the booster will become a projectile in the event of an accident.
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