your childs safety a boost.
These watchwords are at the heart of an ITD Office of Highway
Safety campaign launched this month. The awareness campaign
urges parents and caregivers to use the right safety seats
for children, and about the need for booster seats.
part of that effort, child safety seat information is front
and center on the ITD web site, making safety tips a mouse
click away. The campaign features Boise firefighter Captain
Tony Casetta and ads appear on television, radio and billboards
Keeping children safe on the road means putting them
in the right safety restraint at the right age, said
Josephine OConnor, Idaho Office of Highway Safety (IOHS).
While most infants and toddlers ride in the appropriate safety
seat, 90 percent of children who should be in booster seats
are not, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety
Booster seats bridge the gap between child safety seats
and seat belts for kids under 80 pounds, OConnor
said. Theres a critical time when kids have outgrown
safety seats but are still too small to use seat belts alone.
They need the protection of booster seats.
A booster seat elevates a child so a seat belt can fit correctly.
Most seat belts are designed to protect an averagesized
adult male. Young children using only seat belts are at risk
of injuries to the abdomen and spine, and are four times more
likely to suffer a serious head injury in a crash than if
secured in a booster seat.
IOHS recommends booster seats for children who are 4 to 8
years old, unless they are at least 4 feet 9 inches tall.
Low-back booster seats that securely position the lap and
shoulder belts properly are available for less than $20.
Many people believe that if they follow a law requiring
child safety seats for kids 4 years or younger and weighing
less than 40 pounds, or instead use the seat belt alone, theyre
adequately protecting their child, OConnor said.
Unfortunately, thats simply not true. Children
tend to put the shoulder belt behind their backs because its
uncomfortable but doing so is illegal. It is the responsibility
and obligation of the driver to make certain the child is
safely restrained, whether in a safety seat or a booster seat.
Use of booster seats is required in 22 states and the District
of Columbia. Idaho does not require booster seats, although
neighboring states, including Wyoming, Montana, Nevada, Washington
and Oregon do.
NHTSA offers four simple ways to
increase safety for children riding in motor vehicles:
- REAR-FACING INFANT SEATS in the back seat
from birth to at least 1 year old and weighing less
than 20 pounds.
- FORWARD-FACING TODDLER SEATS in the back
seat from age 1 to about age 4, or weighing 20 to
- BOOSTER SEATS in the back seat from about
age 4 to at least age 8, or taller than 4 feet 9 inches.
- SAFETY BELTS at age 8 or older, or taller
than 4 feet 9 inches. All children 12 and younger,
or weighing less than 100 pounds, should ride in the
back seat and never in front of an air bag.