PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- When it comes to kids and car safety, we tend to focus on car seats for babies and toddlers, but getting the right booster seat for big kids is really important, too.
First of all, you don't want to transition kids out of their car seats too early. And when you do, don't go straight to a plain seat belt for safety. Consumer Reports tells us big kids need a "boost" to keep them safe in the car, too.
Consumer Reports recently held a photo shoot to demonstrate that even after children outgrow the weight or height limit of their forward-facing car seat, most kids still won't be ready ot use just a seat belt. The solution is a booster seat.
"Boosters are the best way to protect these 'big kids' in a car crash. It helps positions the belt over the strong bony part of their body, rather than their internal organs," said Emily Thomas Ph.D., Consumer Reports.
Boosters raise children up, so that the seat belt fits correctly over the sternum and the center of the collarbone - not the neck or arm - and low across the upper thighs, rather than the abdomen.
They come in two main styles: high-back and backless. While using a backless one is better than not using one at all, Consumer Reports recommends a highback booster because these do a better job of positioning the shoulder belt and the side wings provide some side impact protection in a crash.
The Evenflo Big Kid Amp Highback ($40 dollars) and Evenflo Big Kid Sport ($43 dollars) are Consumer Reports' top rated booster seats.
"Kids generally need to be in a booster until they are at least 4'9" tall, and between the ages of 8 and 12-years-old. Typically, this is when the vehicle seat belt will fit them correctly and they are more comfortable on the larger vehicle seats. It's also when their bones will be stronger and can better handle the pressure from a seat belt during sudden braking or in a crash," said Thomas.
And even when kids outgrow the need for a booster, Consumer Reports says the safest place for all kids under 13 is in the back seat.
Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware do require children under 8-years-old to be in a child safety seat.
You can check booster laws in your state to localize the report HERE.
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Consumer Reports: Booster seat safety for big kids