Car Seats vs. Boosters: What does the law and research recommend?

This is such a confusing topic for families. When do you move a child from a backwards facing car seat to a front facing car seat, on to a booster and ultimately when is it safe to take our kids out of boosters and simply use those seat belts?  I just did some research and here is what I found:

What Seat Should You Use & When: Info Here

Colorado Law: The new law, enacted on August 1, 2010, requires all children under age 8 to be properly protected in a child safety seat when traveling in a motor vehicle.  As a result, thousands of 6- and 7-year-olds across the state are now riding in booster seats. Previously, the law required only 4 and 5-year-olds to be in booster seats. Children ages 4–7 who use booster seats are 45% less likely to be injured in a crash compared with children who are restrained only by seat belts.

Get Your Car Seat Installation Checked at Fitting Stations across Colorado or at Parenting Place. They require reservations, but will help you schedule a car seat check with a professional. CDOT claims that over 90% of all seats they inspect are installed incorrectly. Yikes!

Have you had good or bad experiences getting your car seats installed? Keeping your children facing backwards as long as possible?

4 thoughts on “Car Seats vs. Boosters: What does the law and research recommend?

  1. My experience as a pediatric chiropractor is seeing children post motor vehicle accident. While the law is the minimum requirement it may not be the absolute best. The minimum rear facing is generally around one year (but varies based on weight and height of your car seat- so check the directions). However, the recommendation is moving to keeping them rear facing until 2. I think other countries have started to adapt to this. This is just due to the forces and the strength of their neck/body to support them. I see kids with injuries to their necks even in 5 point harness. Usually they are pretty minimal though. As for boosters, I truly believe kids should be in 5 pt harness as long a possible. My 9 year old still is. They keep making them for older and larger kids because they know it makes a huge difference. Once again, their bodies can’t take the force and the 5 pt evenly distributes the forces across the body v.s a shoulder strap. So if your in a minor fender bender your kid is probably safe with the basic legal requirements. After all that is what is most common. However, God forbid you are in a serious accident going above and beyond can make a significant difference. I am pretty passionate about this. Good car seats make a difference. I also think it is very important to have your seat inspected by a seat inspector as well. My kids some times ask why they can’t have a booster and I simply say I love you, it is my job is to keep you safe if we are in a serious car accident. I will let you when it is safe…and I joke maybe when you go to prom” and that is the end of the discussion. Lastly, if you are ever in a car accident it is really important to have your child looked over for musculo skeletal injuries. Just because they are bleeding, or complaining (especially younger ones) doesn’t mean they aren’t hurt. Kids often play and work through much more discomfort then adults. Fixing a whiplash or muscle injury early can help prevent more permanent issues in adulthood.

    Gretchen Hess-Turzanski, D.C.
    Bellies, Babies and Beyond Chiropractic
    focused in prenatal and pediatric chiropractic care

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