Stephanie Tonegato outgrew her car seat and started sitting in a booster seat when she turned 4-years-old. A booster seat, that Stephanie's mother Laurie, says saved her child's life in a rollover accident that killed Stephanie's father. "The impact across her shoulder blade that broke her collarbone would have broken her neck if she had been sitting four inches lower on the seat of the car instead of in her booster seat."
A new study in the Journal of the American Medical Association says that booster seats can reduce a child's risk of injury by nearly 60%. Dr. Dennis Durbin of the Children's Hospital in Philadelphia is one of the study's authors. He and his colleagues reviewed car crash data on more than 4,200 kids, ages four through seven. Dr. Durbin says, "What a belt-positioning booster seat does is it positions the child so that both the lap and the shoulder portions of the seat belt will fit the way they're designed to fit."
Dr. Durbin says belt-positioning booster seats not only reduce injury. They also eliminate serious injuries to the abdomen and spine, caused by seat belts. Dr. Durbin says, "This was the first evidence that proper positioning of the seat belt really will result in a reduction of the injuries that we know have been associated with improperly fitting seat belts."
Since the tragic accident, Stephanie's mom has become a booster-seat advocate. "Loving parents who would do anything for their kids need to be putting their kids into booster seats so that they don't find out the hard way that they were too small to be buckled like an adult." She says Stephanie will ride in her booster seat until she outgrows it.
Dr.Durbin hopes the study will encourage more states to make it mandatory that children seven and under ride in a booster or car seat. Texas law currently requires that children over the age of four but younger than seventeen be secured by at least a safety belt.
Just last week, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration rated child safety and booster seats. The seats were graded on ease of assembly, clarity of labeling, instructions and east of putting the child in the seat. If you would like to see where you child's seat's rate, (click here).
For NewsChannel 11's Consumer Connection, I'm Sharon Maines.