Nine out of 10 parents move their children out of booster seats into seat belts before the children are big enough, according to a recent survey.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) said its survey also found that most parents of children between the ages of 4 and 10 are unaware that a child should be at least 4’ 9” tall to ride in a car using a safety belt without a booster seat. The children should also weigh at least 80 pounds.
IIHS said most parents based their decision on when to place their children in seat belts on state law, their child’s comfort, or their spouse’s opinion. But IIHS said state child restraint laws differ and do not always reflect the best practices recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Connecticut seat belt law allows the use of either a child restraint system or a seat belt for children at least seven years old and weighing at least 60 pounds.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) offers another tip on when it’s okay for a child to use only a seat belt: the child should be able to keep his or her (1) back against the car seat, (2) knees naturally bent over the seat edge, and (3) feet flat on the floor.
Read more about the IIHS survey at: http://www.iihs.org/iihs/sr/statusreport/article/49/9/2.
NHTSA booster and seat belt information is available at: http://www.nhtsa.gov/people/injury/childps/archive/promote/know.htm.