Child Safety in Vehicles

CBS/AP) According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, 3,300 children between the ages of 4 and 7 died in a motor vehicle crashes between 1994 and 2002.
On Sunday, March 27, New York State joined more than two-dozen other states requiring that children from ages 4 to 6 sit in booster seats when riding in a car.
Kim Kleman, managing editor of Consumer Reports Magazine, tells The Early Show co-anchor Rene Syler booster seats are important for children because when they get out of toddler seats, they are too small for a regular seat belt to hold them properly.
She explains, “The top catches the child’s neck and the bottom part goes around the child’s abdomen as opposed to the hips where it’s supposed to go.”
Therefore, if there is an accident, a regular seat belt can strangle a child or cause abdominal bleeding. The booster seat hits the child in the right place – that is around the hips, which are the strongest part of the body, she notes.
Demonstrating how toddler booster seats work, Kleman says, “The good thing about these is you buy it when your child is forward-facing, when they’re about 20 pounds. When they get about 40 pounds, you take off the harness in the back and it can be used as a booster.”
While the state law covers children until age 7, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recommends children remain in booster seats until they reach 4-feet-9 inches tall or 80 pounds. Since the weight limits of booster seats vary by model, parents should check the guidelines on the seat they buy.
“They’re really not expensive. These are 40 to $45,” Kleman notes.
Previous New York State law required children up to age 4 to be in a booster seat. The law covers all children in the front and back seats, so parents car-pooling kids to kindergarten, first or second grade will have to have a car seat for every child.
Only liveries, taxis and public buses are exempt. Failure to comply carries a $25 to $100 fine and could cost drivers three-point infractions on their licenses.
In July, a similar law will go into effect in Indiana that will require children under age 8 to use a booster seat. Similar laws are pending in 16 other states.