1. Letting your child use a regular seat belt too soon.
Why it’s unsafe: Seat belts are designed for an adult and can cause seriously injuries if they don’t fit properly. What AAA recommends: Use a booster seat until the adult seat belt fits properly with the lap portion of the belt fitting low across the child’s hips and the shoulder belt across their sternum and collar bone. Proper belt fit may not be possible in some cases until age 12 or 13.
2. Allowing children to place the seat belt under their arm or behind their back when using a booster seat.
Why it’s unsafe: Improperly worn seat belts can cause injuries! A seat belt placed under the arm can cause fragile ribs to break which can in turn cause additional injury. A seat belt behind the back eliminates upper body protection and can cause serious spinal injury or even ejection.
What AAA recommends: Make sure children wear their seat belt properly with their booster seat and remain in proper position the whole trip.
3. Skipping a booster seat when carpooling or riding with friends
Why it’s unsafe: Most crashes occur close to home and can occur at any time - even a one-time exception could result in serious injury. What AAA recommends: Don’t compromise safety for convenience. Use a booster on every trip and make arrangements in advance when carpooling to ensure your child has their booster seat.
4. Using a low back booster in a seat without head rests.
Why it’s unsafe: Riding in a backless booster seat in a vehicle with no head restraint can cause head, neck and spinal injuries in a crash or sudden stop. What AAA recommends: Make sure your vehicle has head restraints to protect your child before considering using a backless booster seat. If not, use a high back seat that offers head/neck protection.
5. Not buckling in empty booster seats.
Why it’s unsafe: Booster seats that are not in use can go flying in a sudden stop or crash and cause injury if they are not buckled in the vehicle. What AAA recommends: Buckle up booster seats even when children are not riding in the car to keep yourself and other passengers safe.