The vast majority of parents are now clued-up enough to put their infant or toddler in a car seat, but far fewer are vigilant about using booster seats, which allow seat/shoulder belts to properly restrain a child. NHTSA recommends—and many states require—booster seats for kids age 4 to at least 8, or more than 4’9” tall.
The Dodge Journey crossover I recently drove had built-in booster seats, which are a great idea for people with younger kids. At $295 (bundled with daytime running lamps) on the Journey, the built-in booster seats are pricey compared to booster seats you buy in a store, which can cost as little as $20 or so. But the built-in version has a couple of advantages. Older kids are less likely to protest using it, since it’s just a raised-up regular seat and not some special kid seat. Also, you always have two on hand, so you won’t get caught short when you’re shuttling an additional kid around. Surprisingly few carmakers offer the boosters. Chrysler is one of the few manufacturers to put them in more than one model. The minivans have had them for a while and now the new Journey offers them too. Perhaps, as awareness of booster seats builds, built-in booster seats will be available on more cars and trucks.