Parents moving kids out of booster seats too early: study

TORONTO – Most parents are moving kids out of booster seats into a seat belt, too early, according to a new study.

According to a recent study by Safe Kids Worldwide, a global network of groups working to prevent accidental childhood injuries, 9 in 10 parents are moving their children from booster seats to a seat belt before they reach the recommended height, weight or age.

“Parents let their kids move out of booster seats far too early,” says Kate Carr, president and CEO of Safe Kids Worldwide. “It was really startling to us how many parents did not know how tall their children had to be before they could safely move them from a booster seat into the regular seat in a car.”

The laws in Canada mandate a child to meet just 1 of the following 3 requirements before they’re allowed to ride without a booster seat, with a regular seatbelt.

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  • At least 57 inches / 4’9″  in height
  • At least 80 pounds
  • 8 years old

Booster seats reduce the risk of serious injury by 45 per cent compared to seat belts alone for children 4-8, according to a 2009 study in Pediatrics. When an undersized child is allowed to ride without a booster seat,  if there was a crash, that child could have serious abdominal injuries, neck injuries and the shoulder belt on a short kid could cause face lacerations.