The busy holiday weekend is a good time to check your child’s safety seat.
A law that took effect October 1, 2017 requires children to stay in a booster seat one year longer.
Marisol Feliciano, who runs the Kids in Safety Seats program at St. Francis Hospital, said some parents she’s met weren’t even aware the law changed.
Under the new law, children must be in a booster seat once they reach age five and weigh at least 40 pounds, until they are eight years old and weigh at least 60 pounds.
"This is for bigger children that need the support, a boost, so that this adult seat belt fits properly on them," Feliciano said.
She said as a child gets older, parents are more likely to let the child buckle themselves in. Feliciano said that can be a mistake.
If the child can’t reach the buckle, he or she may put the chest strap over the armrest of the booster seat. That does not give the child enough chest support, according to Feliciano.
For correct placement, both the chest and lap belts should be underneath the armrests.
“You want the lap belt on the hip bone. And the shoulder belt on collar bone,” Feliciano said.
The seat belt should not be resting on soft tissue, such as the belly.
Kids in Safety Seats hosts free monthly safety clinics, where a certified Child Passenger Safety (CPS) technician will check that your car seat is installed correctly and fits the child properly. Bilingual staff members will be on hand.
The program also provides free car seats to caregivers in need. Recipients are required to attend a Kinds in Safety Seats clinic.
To find out more about the Kids in Safety Seats program, call:
- (860)-714-5477 (English)
- (860)-714-7077 (Spanish)
Many local police and fire departments also offer car seat fitting clinics. You may need to make an appointment.
To find a clinic in your area, click here.
For more information on the Connecticut child seat laws, click here.