Child seat smarts

Steering You Right With Sharon Peters

Q: I will be taking care of my grandchild for the next several months. He’s 9 — obviously too big for a child seat, but he’s small for his age. Is there any way to know if the adult seatbelts will do what they should do in an accident?

A: There is. The American Automobile Association (AAA) suggests this easy test:

  • When your grandchild sits all the way back against the car’s seat, do his knees bend as they should at the seat edge?
  • Does the seat belt cross at the shoulder (and not at the neck or arm)?
  • Is the lap belt as low as possible, actually touching the thighs?
  • Can he stay seated like this for the whole trip?

AAA says if you answer “no” to any of the questions, the kid needs a booster seat to make the belt fit properly.

He probably won’t be happy if he has to go back into a booster seat at his age, but you may be able to lessen the sting by reminding him that it won’t be for very many months.

In fact, AAA recommends a booster seat for kids up to 8 years old anyhow, unless the child is 57 inches tall or taller. So it’s not that far out of the norm.

© CTW Features
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