Q. EXACTLY WHO SHOULD BE IN A CAR BOOSTER SEAT?
A. 16.5 MILLION KIDS WHO AREN'T
Web-only: Answers to your questions about boosters and other car seats.
Q. How do booster seats work?
A. They literally give kids who weigh less than 90 pounds a boost, enabling lap and shoulder belts in back seats to fit them properly.
Q. Why aren't booster seats required by law?
A. The American Medical Association thinks they should be. It notes that most states only have seat restraint laws covering kids age four and under. Meanwhile, the federal government last year enacted Anton's Law, requiring car manufacturers to install lap/shoulder belts in the center rear seat of all vehicles starting in 2005, and ordering the National Highway Travel Safety Administration to develop new safety criteria for children over 50 pounds.
Q. Do any cars come with built-in boosters?
A. Yes, the latest model Volvos offer boosters (which fold up when not needed) as optional add ons. Cost: approximately $300.
Q. Should booster seats be used on airplanes?
A. No. The FAA recommends the use of rear-facing child restraint systems for kids under 20 pounds, and forward-facing restraint systems for kids 20 to 40 pounds. It says that kids over 40 pounds should be safe with nothing more than a regular aircraft seat belt.
Q. Where can I find out more about boosters?
A. Go to the NHTSA web site (www.nhtsa.gov ). In the left-hand column, click on "Child Passenger Safety" for data and advice. Click on "Child Seat Inspections" to find new government ease-of-use ratings for all types of child seats, including boosters. You can also access the ratings by calling the NHTSA at 888/327-4236 or 202/366-9550. For aircraft seat use, go to www1.faa.gov/fsdo/phl/tipsfor.htm .