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Vincent Iannelli, M.D.

Car Seat Safety Resolutions for the New Year

By December 31, 2011

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A mother fastening her child into a booster seat. - Photo by Rob Van Petten / Getty ImagesA new car seat law in California will hopefully help parents remember to keep their kids safe in the car.

The new law states that children must be restrained in an appropriate car seat or booster seat until they are at least 8 years old or they are 4' 9" in height. Previously, parents could legally move their kids to regular seat belts once they were 6 years old or were 60 pounds. Of course, that would still be a lot sooner than the car seat safety guidelines of the American Academy of Pediatrics, which state that the move to regular seat belts should not occur until kids are "old enough and large enough" for the seat belts to protect them properly, which usually isn't until they are 4 feet 9 inches tall (57 inches) and are between 8 and 12 years old.

Since many states still have car seat laws that are far below the recommendations of the AAP, this year, make a resolution to keep your kids in a car seat or booster seat until they are really ready for seat belts - when they are 4 feet 9 inches tall (57 inches) and are between 8 and 12 years old.

Which states have the worst car seat laws? That "honor" goes to Arizona, Florida and South Dakota, which don't even have booster seat laws. But even if you are following the minimum requirements of states with stronger booster seat laws, that just means that you won't get a ticket, it doesn't mean that your child is safe. Keep your kids in a booster seat until they are really ready for seat belts.

Related:
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Child Passenger Safety Laws
Car Seat Safety
Parenting Resolutions for the New Year
New Year's Resolutions for Kids

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