By Jayne O’Donnell
I know, I know. Getting a 6-year-old who has been riding in the car like a “big girl” to go back to a child seat would be no easy task. But now there’s considerable evidence that keeping older kids in booster seats until they reach small-adult size reduces injuries and saves lives.
Still, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says fewer than 7 percent of the 20 million U.S. children ages 4 to 8 are riding in booster seats. That’s a frightening statistic when you consider that more than 500 children in this age group are killed in car accidents each year, and thousands more are injured. Safety experts say many of the deaths and injuries could be prevented by the proper use of booster seats.
Understanding the Necessity
Autumn Alexander Skeen lost her 4-year-old son in a crash when an adult seat belt failed to keep him inside the car. Skeen is now a spokeswoman for Ford Motor Company’s educational campaign promoting booster-seat use. “No parent should ever know the pain of losing a child, especially if death or injury is easily preventable,” Skeen says.
A Simple Solution
Booster seats are available at many major department stores and at Web sites and superstores that carry children’s products. Your vehicle’s manufacturer or your insurance company may also be able to make suggestions about where to buy a booster seat in your neighborhood. Some insurance and car companies even have special programs that offer the seats for free or at a discount.
ClubMom’s AutoPro, Jayne O’Donnell, is a Washington, D.C.-based reporter (and new mom!) whose automotive expertise and investigative reporting skills have helped break some of the biggest auto-safety stories of the past several years.
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