Safety is in back seat

Published 11:51 am Wednesday, November 14, 2007

By By ERIKA PICKLES / Niles Daily Star
NILES – AAA delivered a big booster seat message to students at Howard-Ellis School Tuesday – ride in the back seat until you are 12 years old and ride in a booster seat until you are 8 years old.
Fred Doelker and Carla Harvey-Murphy, both of AAA, spoke with students in kindergarten about the importance of being safe while riding in a vehicle.
AAA has been conducting booster seat programs with children in Michigan elementary schools and day cares over the past year. Some of their presentations include reading storybooks, measuring the children to see how tall they are and even letting them sit in an actual booster seat.
Children in Judy Brown's class had the chance to see and participate in all of the events. By the end of the program, they knew how important it was to be safe in a car.
"This is the first time we have done this program and we are glad AAA asked to do this. Children need to know how important it is for them to be in the back in a booster seat," Michelle Asmus, assistant principal at Howard-Ellis said.
According to AAA, the majority of Michigan kids between the ages of 4 and 8 are riding in their family vehicles restrained only by the adult safety belt and not a booster seat. Doelker showed what happens to children when they use an adult seat by demonstrating with a doll the size of a toddler.
He explained that when an adult safety belt is used, it only provides little protection, if any, in the case of an accident.
"The adult safety belts do not fit small children. If you get into an accident, you could be very seriously hurt," Doelker told the students.
Generally, children between the ages 4-8, less than 80 pounds and under four feet-nine inches need to be restrained with a simple inexpensive booster seat.
The booster seat program was developed by AAA Community Safety Services and The University of Michigan Program for Injury Research and Education (UMPIRE).