The first thing you need to consider when selecting child safety seats is the need to pick a seat that best fits your baby according to her age and height/weight. Once your baby outgrows her rear-facing safety seat (for infants under the age of 1 or the weight of 20 lbs) and her front-facing safety seat (for children ages 1-4 and weighing 20-40 lbs), there’s no time to wait – it’s time to buy her a booster seat. Booster seats are seats that allow your child more freedom of movement while providing protection that is midway between the absolute restraint offered by the infant seat, and the more breathable restraint offered by the adult seatbelt.
Booster seats are considered the middle ground between infant car seats and "grown-up" seatbelts. Boosters are basically for "big kids." But did you know, there’s even another group of children who are too large for booster seats and too small for adult seatbelts – these children are called "tweens." They’re usually from age 8-12, and one of their most remarkable habits is not wearing any sort of safety restraint – and riding in the passenger side of the car, yet!
The term "tweens" was coined by marketers, but the dangerous habit of riding without a booster seat was discovered by the Automotive Coalition for Traffic Safety (ACTS), a group of child safety advocates. After filing a report on this matter, ACTS proceeded to launch an interactive website at http://www.tweensafety.org and distributed a "tip sheet" for parents of tweens, calling on them to be good adult role models when it comes to traffic safety and accident prevention.
For the most part, tweens may be grown up enough to benefit from adult seatbelts – they just don’t want to. Well, at that age they must be sick of infant and child restraints by now, shouldn’t they? Tweens want their own space, and parents would do well to respect that if they wish for their children to appreciate the importance of safety on the road. The best thing that parents of stubborn tweens could do is not to nag, but to periodically remind the child about the value of wearing car belts. But above all else, they must be responsible and to buckle up habitually. Soon enough, their tweens will learn how to follow their example.
Until your child reaches the delicate "tween" ages, it would be good to invest in good booster seats – ones that are comfortable, stylish, and perfectly suited to the sizes of both your child and your car.
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