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Booster Seat Safety

The booster seat message is a crucial one; The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that up to 90% of children in the U.S. who should be using a booster seat are not.



Children prematurely moved to seat belts are 4 times more likely to suffer serious head injuries during a collision than children in child safety or booster seats. Safety belts are designed for adults, and children under 4'9" tall should ride with a booster seat.  Despite the risks, national statistics show that 4 out of every 5 kids between the ages of 4 and 8 are not riding in a car booster seat. 


NHTSA awarded a contract in Fall 2001 whose objective was to obtain a measure of the current level of CRS misuse among the general public. The study convened a group of experts to identify “critical” misuses, defined as forms of misuse that could reasonably be expected to raise the risk of injury to a child in the event of a crash. The critical misuses composed the overall misuse measure for the study.


The critical misuse measures were:


- Age and weight appropriateness of the booster seat;


- Direction of seat;


- Placement of seat in relation to air bags;


- Installation and secureness of seat to the vehicle seat (tight safety belt);


- Secureness/tightness of harness straps and crotch strap of the seat


- Use of locking clip for certain vehicle safety belts


- Fit of vehicle safety belt across child in belt-positioning booster seat


- Defective or broken car seat elements.



72.6% of 3,442 observed booster seats displayed one or more critical misuses.



Facts On Booster Seat Misuse


- Higher safety belt misuse (e.g., twisted belts, improper fit) on booster seats when the children indicated that they had buckled themselves


- Multiple instances of observed misuse when older siblings were responsible for buckling younger children into booster seats in the back seats of vehicles


- Nonuse of restraints by children going to football practice with equipment on their bodies (i.e., shoulder ads, helmets);


A greater likelihood of children being unrestrained the farther away they were seated from the driver;



Information compiled from




How To Find The Right Booster Seat Or Car Seat



Not sure what car seat is the safest for your child? Click here to get the NHTSA rating on both car seat and booster seat safety.  



Booster Seat Safety

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