Fran Damian, MS, RN, nursing leader, Injury Prevention Program
Why does Childrenĺ─˘s Hospital Boston support the booster seat legislation?
Booster seats lower the risk of injury by about 60 percent compared to the use of seat belts alone.
What does the new law say? When does it go into effect?
The new law, which went into effect in July, 2008, says that children from the age of 4 to 8, or up to four feet, nine inches in height, must be restrained in a vehicle with use of a booster seat.
Why is the new law important?
Studies have shown that a familyĺ─˘s awareness and compliance with use of something like a booster seat greatly increases when it becomes a law.
Louis Lee MD, MPH, director of Childrenĺ─˘s Injury Prevention Program
What happens if you donĺ─˘t use a booster seat properly?
If a booster seat is not properly used for a school-aged child or a child under the height of four feet, nine inches they are at increased risk for both spinal cord and intra-abdominal injuries because the shoulder belt can cut them across the neck and the lap belt, rather than sitting in their lap, can hit them in the abdomen and cause injuries to organs like the liver, the pancreas, the spleen or the colon.
Where can families get a booster seat, and how much do they cost?
Booster seats can be obtained at most major retailers as well as retailers specializing in childrenĺ─˘s toys and equipment. They can also be obtained for children in Boston through different neighborhood clinic programs. So the families of Boston children should consult their provider. The cost is $25 up.
Does Childrenĺ─˘s distribute booster seats? Where?
Childrenĺ─˘s does distribute booster seats as well as other car seats to younger children for the patients in our primary care clinics.
What do you do if your child wonĺ─˘t sit in a booster seat?
If your child refuses to sit in a booster seat and says that youĺ─˘re making them feel or act like baby then you tell them that a booster seat is actually a big kidĺ─˘s seat, not a baby seat, and that it helps to not only keep them safe in the car but it helps them to look out the window. You also make it clear that itĺ─˘s a non-negotiable situation; if they do not sit in the booster seat then they do not ride in the car.