Let me preface this with a bold statement: Laws requiring an 80 lb kid be in a booster seat is just plain stupid.
I was driving through Ontario a few weeks ago and caught news broadcasts touting their new law requiring that kids up to 36 kg (80 lb). The parent groups were saying things like "even if we save just one child, the cost is worth it," and "it's obviously necessary in today's world". A police officer came on with, "It's a great stride forward in protecting our kids." This mirrors a bunch of laws popping up in the states requiring the same stupid thing.
Let's go to justification? From an engineering standpoint, why the hell would anyone see a need to put a kid in a booster seat? Apparently kids are getting hurt by existing restraints. The only possible reason to elevate the level of the kid is to change where the shoulder belt crosses the kid's chest.
So, the argument goes, this is obviously a problem with the fact that parents haven't shelled out enough money on this mass marketed "safety" crap, rather than properly designed restraints in cars. And the fact that kids take first opportunity to loosen their seat belts as soon as parents start driving has nothing to do with it either. It's also obvious that they will sit still in a confining booster seat way better than in an un-boosted seat because they mind better when parents pay 60 bucks for a booster seat.
Face facts, these laws are nothing more than a lobbying effort on the part of the booster seat manufacturers to sell more stuff. Any government really serious about kid safety in cars would mandate five point harnesses adjustable over the entire range of human development. Then they would mandate key-locks to defeat uncooperative brats.
And what about this argument that "even if we save one life it's worth it?" That too is crap. Wake up people, we put dollar values on human life all the time. Every auto manufacturer weighs the cost of potential lawsuits for design flaws against the cost of implementing fixes. If you run about saying silly things like "life is priceless" you start thinking that "life has infinite value". Well it doesn't. Get over it. Saving one kid’s life isn’t worth a 500 million dollar blackmail scheme.
My prediction is that those same manufacturers will next “recommend” that booster seats be replaced every year and imply that you’re abusing your kids if you don’t.
And what business is it of the government stepping in and circumventing evolution anyway? If stupid parents don't take proper steps to protect their kids, it's just that many fewer of their defective stupid genes making it into the world.
But hey, who’d be left to vote for crooked politicians if they all died off?