All boosters are not created equally, according to a recent report by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) that rates the belt fit of many booster models. A booster should route the lap belt flat across a child’s upper thighs, position the shoulder belt at mid-shoulder, and consistently fit this way in a variety of vehicles. The IIHS has revised its evaluation system since its prior report from 2008.
An analysis of Partners for CPS (PCPS) data reaffirms that boosters are an important step in providing protection to child passengers. The research input was more complete than previously published studies, and the results still prove that belt-positioning booster (BPB) use is more protective than seat belts alone. Children ages 4 to 8 using BPBs were 45 percent less likely to sustain injuries than those using just the vehicle seat belt.
The problem of head restraints (HRs) interfering with CR installation seems to be growing because HR design improvements for non-CR passengers can actually be at odds with CR installation ease. Injury reduction is more effective when the HR is closer to the back of the head, so the trend is for HR designs to protrude further into the seating area – sometimes preventing the back of a forward-facing CR from being aligned with the seatback. Unfortunately, this mismatch coincides with an increased use of high-weight harness (HWH) seats and higher-backed boosters, which are taller and much more likely to reach the height of the HR.
Children from birth through age 3 seated in the center rear have a 43 percent lower risk of injury than those in rear-seat side positions, according to a recently published analysis of data from the Partners for Child Passenger Safety (PCPS) project of The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP).
Why should my child ride in the center?
A national study of actual crashes shows that a child in the center has about half the likelihood of being injured, compared to a child on either side. The center position is farthest from any point of impact.
How can I decide which of my children to place in a side position?
Though the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) does not keep data on how often passengers are injured by loose items in vehicles, such as unsecured booster seats, these injuries do occur. Two such incidents made headlines in Wisconsin in the past couple years. While not fatally injured, both victims still suffer from lingering effects due to their injuries.
A new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that one in every four deaths in crashes of children under age 15 is related to alcohol use. The data from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System about crash-related child passenger deaths during the years 1997 to 2002 were analyzed.