Booster Seat Safety Tips

A big kid in a booster seat.

Why use a booster seat?

  1. Keep your growing passenger safe. A booster seat provides a step between a car seat with a harness and a seat belt alone. It boosts the child for a safer and more comfortable fit of the adult seat belt.
  2. Is it time to move to a booster seat? Make sure your child meets the weight or height limits allowed in her forward-facing car seat. The child must also be mature enough to ride without a harness. What does “mature enough” mean? She needs to stay in the booster seat the entire ride with the seat belt properly fitted across the shoulder and below the hips.

Types of Booster Seats

  1. High back booster. This type is best if your vehicle has a low seat back and no head rest. Like adults, children need support behind their heads. A high-back booster may also be good for younger children who fall asleep in the car or who like the extra comfort and a place to lean their heads.
  2. Backless booster. This type may be more convenient if you carpool or travel. They are typically less expensive. However, the vehicle must have a seat back high enough to provide support behind your child’s head. What’s high enough? Your child’s ears should be below the top of the vehicle seat or head rest.

Installing Your Booster Seat

  1. Booster seats do not need to be installed. And you don’t need to worry about a tight fit. Your child’s weight on the booster seat holds it in place. The seat belt keeps the child in place. Watch the video. 
  2. In the back seat. Use the booster seat in a back seat.
  3. Secure with seat belt. When the booster seat is not being used, secure it with the seat belt so it doesn’t fly around the car if you stop suddenly.
  4. Use the lap and shoulder seat belt. You no longer need a harness because the child and booster seat are held in place by the adult lap and shoulder belt.

The Right Fit for Your Booster Seat

  1. Getting a safe ride. A booster seat lifts a child’s body so the car seat belt can fit properly. The seat belt must lie flat across your child’s chest, is on the bony part of his shoulder and is low on the hips or upper thighs.
  2. Using the seat belt. The booster seat is specifically designed for seat belt fit. Follow the arrows or guides on the booster seat that show you where to place the lap and shoulder belts. This will protect the child’s face, neck and belly.
  3. Watch for this common problem. Make sure your child doesn’t put the shoulder belt behind her back or under her arm. If she must do that to be comfortable, it’s best to use a car seat with a harness or a different booster seat with an adjustable shoulder belt guide.

Ready for the Seat Belt?

  1. Don’t be in a hurry. Your child is safer in a booster seat until the adult seat belt fits correctly, usually between the ages of 8 and 12.
  2. Do the Seat Belt Fit Test. If your child doesn’t pass every step in the test below, keep him in a booster seat until he does.
  3. Test in all the cars your child uses. Remember, just because the seat belt fits your child in one car doesn’t mean the seat belt will fit in all cars. Do the Seat Belt Fit Test in every car before permanently moving from the booster seat to seat belt alone.

The Seat Belt Fit Test

  1. Check knees and feet. Your child’s knees bend at the edge of the seat when her back and bottom are against the vehicle seat back. Her feet should touch the floor for comfort and stability.
  2. Check the lap belt. The vehicle lap belt fits snugly across the hips or upper thighs.
  3. Check the shoulder belt. The shoulder belt fits across the shoulder and chest, NOT across the face or neck. Here’s the video.

Be a Good Example

  1. Wear your seat belt. We know that when adults wear seat belts, kids wear seat belts. So be a good example and buckle up for every ride. Be sure everyone in the vehicle buckles up, too.
  2. Plan for the carpool. When carpooling, make sure you have enough seating positions and booster seats for every child in your car and that kids enter and exit curbside.

Partner Highlight – The Family Center/La Familia

The Family Center/La Familia has been an important partner from the inception of Safe Kids Larimer County. They provide a safe and familiar space for our Spanish Car Seat Classes once a month plus an area for the caregivers’ children to play during the class. This allows the caregiver to focus on the lifesaving information they are being provided during the class.

Their staff are wonderful advocates for our car seat classes and the importance of car seat safety. When necessary, they provide translation to break down the barrier and increase understanding between the car seat technician and the caregiver. Our partnership with The Family Center is invaluable. 25% of our car seat class participants are Spanish-speaking and we would be unable to reach these families in as an effective way without The Family Center’s support.

Since 1995, The Family Center/La Familia, a bilingual organization, has offered high quality early childhood education and family strengthening services. Their primary goal is to strengthen and stabilize working families with children through supportive services such as childcare, parent enrichment programs and after-school tutoring. For more information, visit their website at: https://thefamilycenterfc.org/.

 TFC

PEDAL Club’s Annual EGG & I Helmets for Kids Fundraiser Sept. 30th

Every year sadly another child suffers a head injury riding a bike without a helmet.  Brain injuries can take months to years or even a lifetime to heal.  As bicyclists, the PEDAL Club understands the need for helmets on every cyclist.  Since 2013 PEDAL and the Egg & I have been hosting an annual fundraiser to help Safe Kids Larimer County raise money to purchase helmets for kids.  In this past school year, Safe Kids Larimer County reached 3,088 third grade students through the Strap and Snap program in TSD, PSD and WSD. In the 2016 school year, 2,394 third grade students went through the program.   During that time, 508 helmets were fitted and 467 helmets were distributed to students.  This year our goal is to raise $500 for Safe Kids Larimer County so they can continue to educate and protect our children.  There will be booths at the Loveland Egg & I and the Oakridge Egg & I offering helmets for bicyclists and skateboarders for $10.00 each.  All monies collected go to Safe Kids Larimer County.  

You can help by visiting any participating Egg & I Saturday, Sept. 30th by any type of vehicle. The Egg & I’s in Fort Collins and Loveland will be donating 25% of all kids meals sold this weekend to Safe Kids Larimer County.  Those wanting to join the PEDAL Club’s ride can meet us at Centennial Park, 977 W 1st St, Loveland.  The ride will depart from the east side of the park at 8am. The ride is approximately 35 miles.  You can ride with us to one, two or all three Egg & I’s.  For more information you can visit PEDAL’s website at: Pedalclub.org.  Please remember to wear your helmet!EGG&I 2.jpg

September Car Seat Checkup Events

Motor vehicle-related injuries are a leading cause of death for children with 3 children dying and 469 injured EVERY DAY. 

Roughly 70% of families leave the hospital with their newborn improperly harnessed in their car seat and/or with their car seat installed incorrectly. 

September is National Child Passenger Safety Month and Safe Kids Larimer County has partnered with local organizations to hold 2 free Car Seat Checkup Events! Both on September 30th, one in Fort Collins and one in Loveland. Call 970-495-7502 to sign up for your appointment today! See flyers below.

Babies R UsLife Center