Child restraint laws in all states and the District of Columbia require using booster seats for younger children and seat belts for older children. States vary on the age, weight, or height requirements for children that must use booster seats. Many states have primary child restraint laws, which means police officers can stop a vehicle for an apparent child restraint violation. Other states have secondary child restraint laws, requiring police stops for a primary violation before officers can cite secondary law violations.
According to an Eyewitness News article, car accidents are the greatest cause of death for children between ages three and 14. States with stricter child restraint laws show reduced child deaths in car crashes.
Even so, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) not all booster seats are equally safe. The IIHS evaluated 83 different booster seats and categorized 31 as best bets, five as good bets, and six as not recommended. IIHS based evaluation criteria on seat belt fit while using the booster: whether the elevated booster position allowed lap and shoulder belts to correctly restrain a child, lying flat when crossing the child’s upper thighs and securely crossing the middle of the child’s shoulder. The not recommended booster seats resulted from seat designs that prevented proper seat belt contact. IIHS lists the name brands of rated booster seats on its website.
Get a legal opinion
If your child suffers injury in a car accident and you suspect the booster seat did not offer adequate protection, consult an experienced lawyer about filing a lawsuit. A Long Island car accident attorney can evaluate your situation and determine the prospects of pursuing a case.