When you have a child, you do anything and everything in your power to keep them safe. While you are driving, putting them in a car seat while you drive is one of the best ways to do that. Then, once they are too big for the car seat, a booster seat is your next line of defense against serious car accident injuries. The question is, how do you know when your child is ready to graduate from a booster seat and ride in a normal seatbelt? Let’s find out!
Research from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has found that booster seats reduce a child’s risk of serious injury or death during a car crash by 45 percent.
New guidelines suggest children under 4 feet 9 inches who have outgrown the child harness car seat should sit in a booster seat.
- Shorter than 4’9 needs a booster due to the placement of the seatbelt across the chest.
- Under 13, continue to sit in the back seat even if no booster needed due to the development of the spine.
Understanding New Hampshire Car Seat Laws
The best way to determine whether or not your child is ready to ride in a normal seat belt is to understand New Hampshire car seat laws. The law outlines what type of seat your child should ride in based on their age and weight. Current car seat and booster seat laws are:
- Children under two years of age should ride in a rear-facing car seat
- From 2-5 years your child should ride in a forward-facing car seat with a chest harness – once they are four years of age they can ride in a high-back booster seat
- Children 5+ years should ride in a booster seat with a seat belt
There is no set age for when a child should move from a booster seat to a regular seat belt. However, there is a checklist you can use to determine whether or not it’s safe to switch.
The Booster Seat Checklist
One of the first signs your child is ready to move from the booster seat to the normal seatbelt is when the booster seat becomes uncomfortable to ride in. Before you move them, however, here are a few items you should check off:
- Do your child’s feet touch the floor comfortably?
- Does your child’s back touch the back of the seat?
- Does the seatbelt sit naturally between your child’s arm and neck?
- Does the lap belt touch your child’s thighs?
- Will your child sit in the seat without removing the belt?
If you can answer yes to all of these questions, then you can safely move your child to a regular seat if they are over five years of age.
The Dangers of Not Following Car Seat Laws
Following car seat laws is extremely important to your child’s safety. If they are not buckled in properly they can suffer serious injuries and even death in a car accident. Some of the risks of not being buckled in properly include being thrown from the car, broken bones, head injuries, neck injuries, back injuries, and more.
Patch & FitzGerald Car Accident Attorneys In New Hampshire
If you are involved in a car accident in New Hampshire, you can rely on the attorneys at Patch & FitzGerald to be there for you. They have decades of experience winning cases for thousands of people throughout the state. To set up a free consultation regarding your case call 603-647-2600 or contact us online today.