The 10 Best Car Booster Seats
10. Evenflo Spectrum
9. Bubble Bum Inflatable
8. KidsEmbrace Minnie
7. Britax Parkway SGL G1.1 Phantom
6. Evenflo Maestro Thunder
5. Graco Atlas 65 2-in-1
4. Clek Oobr High Back
3. Britax Frontier Clicktight
2. Graco Affix Atomic
1. Peg Perego Primo Viaggio Convertible
Traffic Safety: The Sobering Statistics
In the year 2014, motor vehicle accidents saw a staggering 2.3 million individuals injured. That same year, there were 29,989 fatal car accidents in the United States. These crashes caused 32,675 deaths in total.
Then, there's the statistic that is even more shocking than the huge number of injuries and the tens of thousands of deaths: of all those many deaths, almost half of the victims (49 percent according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration were not wearing seat belts. That one simple act, so intuitive for most motorists and passengers, could likely have saved more than 15,000 lives.
Safe, defensive driving means only operating a car when free of the influence of intoxicants, it means obeying all rules and regulations governing the roadways, and it means using one's common sense by signaling turns, checking blind spots, and generally maintaining heightened situational awareness.
And of course safe and proper driving involves wearing a seat belt — one would think this goes without saying, but the tragic statistics of annual motor vehicle fatalities say otherwise. Beyond seeking your own seat belt, it's also critical that a parent or caregiver always ensures that children traveling in the car with them are also properly secured.
Smaller children have no business being loose in a car, and they need more protection than that offered by a car's built-in seat belts. A child belongs in a car booster seat until he or she is approximately four feet, eight inches tall, which is often around the time he or she turns ten years old. The risks associated with even a short drive are too great to overlook use of these devices.
Fortunately, a child who is properly secured in his or her properly installed booster seat is often the safest occupant of a motor vehicle. A good booster seats provides everything from added protection against flying glass and debris to additional support for a child's head and neck.
Choosing The Best Booster Seat For Your Child
There are individual booster seats that can accommodate children weighing as little as 22 pounds all the way to a child who weighs 110 pounds. For the budget-conscious family that only wants to buy one booster seat, or needs multiple to accommodate various family vehicles, these models are a good idea. However, to ensure both maximum comfort and safety, it may also be better to consider a booster seat with a narrower age and size range.
Many booster seats use a five point harness system for children until they are approximately 65 pounds in weight. The five point system is similar to that used by professional race car drivers and even by fighter pilots: this is the most reliable way to secure a child in the car.
Even in the unfortunate event of a crash, the child is prevented from slipping out of the seat in any direction. This type of harness is adjustable to grow with the child, but only for so long. Eventually, it will be time to consider switching to a buckle securing system, which is essentially like the adult's seatbelt harness paired with a booster seat.
A booster seat on its own (and most units have the option to work with or without their backrests) has the simple function of elevating a child enough that a car's shoulder harness falls across his or her torso at an appropriate height. Any decent booster seat can achieve this goal once your child is large enough, so consider the extra features before making a purchase. Some booster seats have storage areas underneath them that can be handy for books, toys, and more. Others have cup holders. Still others have armrests. You and your youngster can decide together which option is best.
Safe And Proper Booster Seat Use
If you're not 100 percent certain you can install your child's car seat and/or booster seat properly, get help. Many fire houses and police stations will help you secure the car seat at no charge. Modern booster seats (and indeed modern cars) use the universal LATCH system, which is an acronym for Lower Anchor and Tethers for Children.
Proper attachment of the LATCH buckles should not be difficult, but it can require a good deal of strength to adequately tighten the straps once they are secured. You must also make sure the seat is at the proper angle of upright alignment for your child's age. Again, if you need help, seek it.
And do not use both the car's seat belt and the LATCH system at the same time; children's seats should be secured with one or the other attachment system.
With a booster seat properly secured in the car, make sure that its headrest (should your child still be using the back portion) is positioned at the right height for your youngster. Make sure to pull all straps tight enough that your child is held securely in place without tightening them so much as to cause discomfort or restrict easy breathing. Then, periodically check the seat's settings, as straps can loosen with time, and as kids certainly grow fast.