Although all states require child safety seats for children under the age of four, 12 states still do not require children over the age of four to be secured in a booster seat. Of the remaining 38 states, the laws vary depending on the age of the child. However, more and more states are requiring booster seats which has increased the sales and the use of these devises.
Booster seats are recommended for children over the age of until the child fits properly in a standard automobile seatbelt. Their purpose is to properly restrain a child in the event of an automobile accident. Child car seats rely on weight to determine a proper fit while booster seats rely on height. Booster seats are attached to the vehicle utilizing the vehicles safety belt as opposed to car seats which are fastened in with the automobile with a LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children).
Booster seats are used by children who have outgrown (by weight) a child car seat, though they still are not properly protected using the seat belt installed in the automobile. Children under the age of 4 or those who weigh less than 40 pounds are recommended to use a child car seat instead of a booster seat.
There are numerous ways in which basic flow car seats or booster seats can malfunction. In certain circumstances, the shoulder strap is improperly aligned. Another defect involves the lap belt placement. Further, an additional problem associated with booster seats is the materials used to make the booster seat.
Shoulder Strap: When the shoulder strap is placed improperly, extreme pressure can be displaced onto the chest cavity and the child will sustain injury.
Lap Belt: When the lap belt rests incorrectly on the child’s stomach, it can cause internal injury during a collision.
Construction Material: Some booster seats fail due to poor material. In certain cases the seats have not been manufactured with flame retardant material. In other cases, so many chemicals have been used to treat the fabric that it presents a potential health hazard.
Basic Flow Car Seats and Booster Seats Statistics
Almost 70,000 children aged 4 - 8 are injured every year in an automobile. According to a report on Good Morning America in 2009, children are 45 percent less likely to incur significant injury when using a booster seat as opposed to the traditional seat belt. Unfortunately, when the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) tested 60 of the most popular booster seat options, the majority did not receive a high rating.
Several examples of defective basic flow car seats and booster seats are detailed below.
Basic Comfort recalled Galaxy Model 960 and 961 because of improper shoulder strap placement which resulted in these models not meeting the chest acceleration requirements of the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 213 (NHTSA, 2009). This could result in significant injury to the chest of a child upon impact.
The Recaro Signo Model was recalled due to improper manufacturing. The harness may not secure properly. This could result in the child not being adequately belted in, causing the child to sustain injury in an accident.
Dorel’s Explorer has been the subject of several lawsuits as a result of fatalities of children using shield booster technology. This seat does not offer a harness for the torso. This can result in a child being thrown from the automobile during a rollover or experiencing head and neck injuries during a head-on accident.
There were more than 500 incidents involving the Graduate Booster seat before it was recalled after the seat was found to not fit properly, resulting in injuries to a child during an accident.