Florida is behind the times. That was the basic message of the chair of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), Debbie Hersman, to the Tallahassee Democrat’s editorial board on Tuesday, February 8. A report on Tallahassee.com reports that Florida is one of only three states that doesn’t have a booster-seat requirement and Hersman, a mother of three, would like to see that changed. The other two states are Arizona and South Dakota.
The NTSB chair was in town to encourage and meet with legislative leaders on the issue. The basic problem is that seat belts are made for adult bodies and a small child is likely to have a belt hit them improperly. In the case of a collision, a belt not correctly placed can sever a spine or lacerate a liver. The recommendation is for children ages 4 to 8 to sit in a booster seat that allows the belt to restrain them properly.
Child Passenger Safety Statistics
According to the NTSB, motor vehicle crashes still cause about one of every three injury deaths among children ages 13 and younger. An auto crash is the leading cause of death of children ages 2 to 12. Every year about 1,800 children ages 14 and younger die in car crashes and more than 280,000 are injured.
Parents are encouraged to place all children in the rear seat of the vehicle in order to reduce the risk of a fatality by about one-third.
Farah & Farah’s Florida auto accident lawyers recommend the booster seat be placed in the back seat. You will know when the adult seat belt is fitting properly when the belt lies across the chest between the neck and the arm and the lap belt lies on the upper thighs, not the stomach. Children can usually use an adult seat belt when they are at least 4 feet, 9 inches tall.