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Posted on Mon, Mar 26, 2012 : 5 a.m.

Car booster seats are right choice for small children

By Dear Abby


What do you think of a grandmother who has her 7-year-old grandson sit in a baby car seat when she's driving? The boy weighs 65 pounds and is 4 1/2 feet tall. His parents don't want to cause a rift with her, as she helps them after school. He looks ridiculous and must feel embarrassed in front of his friends. Should relatives intervene? -- GRANNY'S NEIGHBOR


I took your question to a public affairs specialist with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. He said that children through the age of 12 should always ride in the back seat. He also reminded me that seat belts were designed for adults, not children.

According to the NHTSA, the 7-year-old should be in a "booster" seat. A booster seat positions the seat belt so it fits properly over the shoulder and chest -- the strongest parts of the child's body -- so it won't cut him or her on the neck or face in case of an accident.

The NHTSA used to recommend that children 8 to 12 years old or 4 feet 9 inches and under use a booster seat. However, it now recommends that parents visit its website,, to choose a correct seat. Click on the child safety section, and you'll find an area titled "Which Car Seat Is the Right One for Your Child." There are also videos in this section showing parents how to install the seats correctly.

The recommendations are national and do not vary among the states. And yes -- this information should be shared with the child's parents and the grandmother in order to ensure the boy's safety.


At the age of 2, I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. I have been involved with the American Diabetes Association since I was 6. As its 2012 National Youth Advocate, I'd like to invite your readers to join me by participating in the 24th Annual American Diabetes Association Alert Day tomorrow, March 27.

Alert Day, held on the fourth Tuesday in March, is a one-day "wake-up call." On that day, the American public is invited to take the Diabetes Risk Test to find out if they are at risk for developing Type 2 diabetes. It's a serious disease that strikes nearly 26 million children and adults in the United States. Many of them don't know they have it.

Unfortunately, people are often diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes seven to 10 years after it has settled in their system. By then, the major symptoms have already developed and harmed the body, so early diagnosis is critical.

Please urge your readers to "Take it. Share it." Let them know they can protect their health and stop this disease by taking the free risk test. Just answer a few simple questions and share the fact with everyone you care about that there is a test. If they take it, they could be saving lives. -- LOGAN NICOLE GREGORY, 2012 A.D.A. NATIONAL YOUTH ADVOCATE


Congratulations on your selection as the 2012 National Youth Advocate. Readers, because diabetes is a serious -- but manageable -- condition, and there are simple ways to find out if you could be at risk, please pay attention to Logan's message. Visit the American Diabetes Association Facebook page, go to or call 800-342-2383.

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

Abby shares more than 100 of her favorite recipes in two booklets: "Abby's Favorite Recipes" and "More Favorite Recipes by Dear Abby." Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $14 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Cookbooklet Set, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)