I am required by law to purchase, install, and use the appropriate infant/child/booster seat for the God-Empress of Burlington. My co-workers generously purchased an infant seat for us as a shower gift that we were able to use until she was 22 pounds. At that point we had to move her into a car seat, and the law requires her to remain in that car seat until she weighs 40 pounds. Once that happens, we are required to have her in a booster seat until she is both over six years old and over sixty pounds in weight. Judging by some of the studies and such that I have been reading, I suspect that by the time she is six, there will be further requirements for a booster seat for additional age/weight/height. I believe that the current recommendation (but not a law) is for a booster seat until eight or so. I could be misremembering that, though.
This all makes sense - it's based on the idea that one size does not fit all, and that belts sized for an adult will not safely restrain a five year old. I get that - at 5'4", the shoulder belt in any car generally lays right across my throat rather than my shoulder. But this is the basis of the thing that baffles me:
If the three point seatbelts in my car are not safe to restrain Charlotte in three years when she is school age, five years old, and presumably in the vicinity of forty pounds, how is it that they are going to be able to put three point seatbelts on school buses that will safely restrain forty pound five year olds, hundred and fifty pound eighteen year olds, and every age and weight in between? Are they magic? And if they have magic three point seat belts that will do this on a school bus, why don't they put them in my car?
Seriously - what am I missing here? Because I'm obviously missing something.