More on booster seats
November , 2011
A recent article explains the change to California law, which now requires kids to be in a booster seat until they are 8 years old or 4’9″ tall, whichever comes first. Previously, the cutoff was 6 years old or 60 lbs, whichever came first.
Making the criterion be height rather than weight makes a lot of sense, because how the seat belt hits a child depends more on height than on weight. For a seat belt to work properly, restrain the passenger, and prevent injuries, the shoulder belt should go across the chest, and the lap belt go across the pelvic bones. If the shoulder belt goes across the neck, or if the lap belt hits the soft tissue of the abdomen, the belt itself can cause injuries. And while safety and crash engineers have put a lot of thought and work into making all the safety features in a vehicle work for many sizes of people, it’s a tough challenge to make something work for children as well as, for example, a beefy football player.
I expect this to be another in the series of changes that have been reducing death and injury in automobiles.