Just because a child buckles up their seat belt, doesn’t mean they are as safe as they could be in a motor vehicle. That’s why safety advocates across the state will hold a Booster Seat Blitz on Saturday, May 1 to educate the public about the importance of using booster seats to protect children.
Safety experts, including the American Academy of Pediatrics and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, recommend that all children who are at least four years old and 40 pounds use a booster seat after they have outgrown their car seat. Children should continue to use a booster seat until they are 4-feet, 9 inches tall, which is usually around 8 to 10 years old.
“Because Colorado law currently only requires booster seats for 4 and 5 year olds, many parents assume their older child is safe in a regular seat belt, but that’s simply not the case,” said Corporal Eric Wynn, Colorado State Patrol. “Seat belts are not designed for children and may not protect them from serious injuries if it doesn’t fit properly or if the child puts the shoulder strap behind them, which is common.”
A booster seat raises a child up so that the seat belt can better protect the child. The shoulder belt should cross the child’s chest and rest snugly on the shoulder. And the lap belt should rest low across the pelvis or hip area – never across the stomach area.
Over the past five years in Colorado, 35 children ages 4-8 have been killed in traffic crashes, and 77 percent were not properly restrained in a booster seat or were totally unrestrained.
In an effort to save young lives, members of Child Passenger Safety (CPS) Team Colorado will hold nine Booster Seat Blitz events across Colorado on Saturday, May 1. The free events will feature certified child passenger safety technicians who can help parents determine the safest child safety seat according to their child’s age and size.
A Booster Seat Blitz event is scheduled for Pagosa Springs on May 1, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., at the Week of the Young Child Kids’ Fair at Pagosa Springs Elementary School.
To determine whether a child can properly use an adult lap and shoulder belt, they need to pass a five-step test. 1) They can sit all the way back against the vehicle seat. 2) Their knees bend comfortably over the seat’s edge. 3) The shoulder belt fits across the center of the chest and shoulder, across the collar bone. 4) The lap belt fits low on the hips, touching the thighs. 5) And they should be able to stay seated like this for the entire trip.
The safest place for all children under age 13 is the back seat. For other child safety seat recommendations and information on Colorado’s Child Passenger Safety laws, visit www.carseatscolorado.com.