Do I really need a booster seat?
I normally go to sleep while Sheri stays up way too late blogging, but tonight I get to spill the beans. Thanks, Sheri.
A number of different events occurred recently that caused me to take a deeper interest in the importance of booster seats: I just took a 40-hour child safety seat course that talked a lot about boosters, a bunch of new great booster seats have arrived on the shelves of Magic Beans including the brand new Jane Indy and Indy Plus boosters, and most importantly my daughter recently moved into a booster.
Many parents think that booster seats are just a neurotic imposition that makes carpooling less convenient, but actually after taking a closer look, booster seats make sense. Booster seat laws vary widely from state to state. Check boosterseat.gov to see what the deal is in your home state, but regardless of the law, it’s a good idea to keep your child in a booster seat for as long as possible.
First of all, the point of a booster seat is different from a car seat. The main goal of a car seat is to keep your child from being ejected from the car in a crash. The purpose of a booster is to make a seat belt fit better.
The seatbelt you have in your vehicle is designed to fit an adult 4’9” and up. When a child uses a seatbelt without a booster, the lap and shoulder belts fall across the child’s body in a dangerous way and could cause major internal injuries in a collision. The lap belt traverses the child’s belly and the shoulder belt is up against the child’s neck. A booster seat raises a child up, so that the lap belt crosses the child’s thighs and hips – a much stronger part of the body, and high back boosters position the shoulder belt properly across the chest.
Recently, a number of booster seats have come out that also address another major safety concern – side impact protection.
In a front or rear collision, there is a lot of car to crumple before you get to your child in the back seat. But in a side impact collision, there is essentially just the door. That is why car seat technicians always insist on installing your car seat in the middle of the back seat – to keep your child as far away from the doors as possible. When the booster needs to be positioned right next to the door, side impact protection is very important.
This past week, we received our first shipment of Indy and Indy plus seats by the Spanish company Jane. These seats are colorful and cool looking (which is helpful for older kids), and more importantly have great side impact protection. The highlight of the Indy is how adjustable it is. Almost every single element of the seat can be adjusted for both safety and comfort to suit the needs of your growing child. Like its closest competitors, the Britax Parkway and the Recaro Young Style, the headrest on the Indy can adjust up and down to accommodate different heights. But only the Indy offers adjustable width in both the headrest and the lower backrest. By simply turning a knob, you can change the contours of the seat. It’s very cool. The Indy Plus offers a feature that is totally unique in the marketplace. It is a booster that has LATCH. You still need to use a seatbelt on your child, but the LATCH connection will keep the booster stabilized in a crash and provides extra protection in a lateral collision.