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Booster seats save the lives of children in car accidents

You may read that headline and think we are talking about child safety seats, which lock into the car's existing seat belt to secure your young child (under the age of 4) to the vehicle, further protecting your child in case of an accident.

However, booster seats work quite differently. They are meant for children who are 4 feet, 9 inches tall or shorter, and should not be used past the age of 12 -- and instead of securing the child to the vehicle itself, a booster seat properly positions a child with the vehicle's seat belt. Instead of the belt coming down around the face or neck of the child, the booster seat allows the belt to come over the shoulder -- the way the belt is intended to function.

This may seem like an obvious observation; but in 1999, not a single U.S. state had a law pertaining to booster seats. Now, every state has a booster seat law. In Ohio, the law requires children under the age of 8 (or under the 4-foot-9 height ceiling) to sit in a booster seat after they are done with their child safety seat.

Recent research indicates just how beneficial the product can be for families. According to a new study, since the passing of child booster seat laws, fewer kids have died in car accidents -- and the seat provides even more protection to kids aged 6 or 7.

During a decade-long period starting in 1999, states that had booster seat laws saw 11 percent fewer traffic deaths involving kids aged 4-7. For kids aged 6 or 7, the accident death rate plummeted about 25 percent. With the law on the books and safe booster seats in a family's vehicle, there is greatly reduced risk of injury or death for a young child.

Source: Reuters, "After car booster seat laws, child deaths fell," Amy Norton, Nov. 6, 2012

  • To learn more about car accidents and what you can do for your family in the aftermath of such an incident, please visit our Youngstown car accident page.

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