Booster Seat Smart

Kohl's CaresJoe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital, together with Kohl's Be Booster Seat Smart, has built an important new injury awareness and prevention education program for parents of children ages 4 to 8. Typically, children who weigh 40 to 100 pounds have outgrown a car seat but are not yet big enough to use a seat belt. In the meantime, a booster seat can help to keep them safe.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recommends that children under 4’9” use a belt-positioning booster seat. When children use adult seat belts, the lap belt tends to be positioned above the pelvis, where the force of a crash can cause severe internal injuries to the abdominal area. Instead of covering the chest, a shoulder belt often covers the neck or lower face, which also can cause severe injuries.

Did You Know?

  • Accidental injury is the No. 1 killer of children under age 14.
  • Motor vehicle crashes remain the leading cause of unintentional injury-related death among children age 14 and under.
  • Each year nearly 1,600 child occupants age 14 and under die in motor vehicle crashes.
  • Nearly 228,000 children are injured as occupants in motor vehicles.
  • Improperly restrained children are more likely to be injured, to suffer more severe injuries and to die in motor vehicle crashes than children who are restrained properly.
  • A booster seat reduces injury by 59% compared to a seat belt alone.1

When to Move to a Seatbelt

Generally, children can use a seat belt safely when they are 4’9” tall. The lap belt must rest snugly across the upper thighs instead of the stomach, and the shoulder belt should lie snug across the shoulder and chest. Children should not put shoulder belts under their arm or behind their backs, because this could cause severe injuries in an accident. Also, it is important that children always ride in the back seat where they are safer.

To use a seat belt safely, children also must:

  • Be tall enough to sit without slouching
  • Be able to keep their back against the vehicle seat
  • Be able to keep their knees bent over the edge of the seat
  • Be able to keep their feet flat on the floor
1Committee on Injury, Violence, and Poison Prevention. Child passenger safety. Pediatrics. 2011;127(4):788-93