A child is big enough to sit in the vehicle lap and shoulder belt when they can sit with their back against the vehicle seat back with their knees bent over the edge of the vehicle seat without slouching. This is when a child is approximately eight years old and 4'9." If a child cannot sit properly in the vehicle lap and shoulder belt they should use a belt positioning booster seat.
The lap belt should lie securely on a child's upper thigh. The shoulder belt should fit snugly across the chest and rest between their neck and shoulder.
Lap and shoulder belt are designed for adults and made to ride over the bony areas of the shoulders and hips. With small children, the lap belt tends to ride up into their abdomens and the shoulder belt cuts across their necks. A booster seat positions the lap and shoulder belt properly. Click here for information on the proper use of booster seats.
Lap and shoulder belt provide greater protection than a lap belt alone because it provides upper body restraint in addition to lower body restraint. Children large enough for a seat belt should use the vehicle's lap and shoulder belt. If your vehicle has lap only belts in the back seat, you may want to consider having shoulder belts installed by a dealer or repair facility. Most vehicle manufacturers offer retrofit shoulder belt kits for this purpose.
The shoulder belt should never be placed behind a child. He/she could be seriously injured in a crash. If the seat belt does not fit properly, a child should use a belt-positioning booster seat.
Never place the shoulder belt under a child's arm. Placing the shoulder belt under a child's arm can cause life-threatening injuries in a crash. If the seat belt does not fit properly, a child should use a belt-positioning booster seat.
Charles B. Stoke has written: 'Child safety seat and safety belt use among urban travelers' -- subject(s): Automobiles, Seat belts, Statistics 'Seat belt and shoulder strap use among urban travelers' -- subject(s): Automobiles, Seat belts, Statistics 'Safety restraint use in Virginia' -- subject(s): Automobiles, Safety appliances, Seat belts, Statistics 'Use of child safety seats in metropolitan areas of Virginia during summer 1994' -- subject(s): Child car seats, Traffic safety and children
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