If you're on any parenting listserves, you've probably seen this YouTube video already. It was made by the family of a little boy who was killed in a car accident; even though he was in a booster seat and belted in, the seat belt failed, and he was thrown from the car. The video is a tearjerker, and argues for keeping kids in car seats with 5-point harnesses for as long as possible.
A friend forwarded me the video today, and I responded with this link from CarSeat.org, which points out that seat belt failure is extremely rare. She responded that both CarSeat.org and AAP recommend keeping kids in car seats until they reach the height/weight limits, and so that it seems like a "no-brainer" to use a seat with higher limits if one is available.
I had to think for a while to figure out why I had such a strong reaction to this argument. Part of it is defensiveness -- at 6, D is shorter and lighter than many 4 year olds. He's probably going to need a booster until he's 12. Or maybe 21.* But we haven't made him stay in a car seat. He's happier in the booster, and it's vastly easier to move it from car to car. I don't like being made to feel like a neglectful parent as a result.
But it's also that I object to the idea that we're supposed to protect against any risk we can, no matter how low probability. It's the same reason I'm not a fan of cord blood banking. So much of parenting seems to be driven by fear these days, and I don't want to buy into that world view.
* Heck, I sit on a wedge that is essentially an adult booster seat when I drive our older car, which doesn't have fully adjustable seats -- I'm 5' even, and without the wedge, the curve in the seat hits my back in the wrong places.