Today I want to talk about car booster seats. My kids have always wanted to sit in the “mommy” and “daddy” seats. Boosters not only allows them to feel big, but they also allow them to see out the window, and that goes a long way for entertainment purposes!
What are the important points to know about booster seat safety? How do you know when to move a child out of the booster seat?
There is the well-known rule of “4 years or 40 lbs”. However, that is not really adequate. Most often each state has their own regulations on age/weight/height. Age is the least accurate indicator as each child is unique and the safety measures are most accurately judged by size. The best way to judge is to follow state regulations along with following the manufacturer’s guidelines.
Parents Central gives the following helpful guidelines:
A booster seat raises and positions your child so that the vehicle’s lap and shoulder belt fit properly. A booster seat keeps the lap belt from causing injury to the child’s abdomen and keeps the shoulder belt in place to give the child upper body protection. In the event of a crash, an adult seat belt that does not fit a child properly can actually cause injury rather than prevent it, because it doesn’t fit over the strong parts of the child’s body.
Types of Booster Seats
High-back boosters are the recommended choice for vehicles with low seat backs because the low seat backs do not provide any support for your child’s head and neck. Both the vehicle seat back and the head rest are not sufficient support.
Backless Booster Seats
If your vehicle seat or head rest are structured so that they do provide adequate support for your child’s head, you may use a backless booster seat.
When your child outgrows the height or weight limits of the harness, remove the harness and use the seat as a booster. Be sure to carefully follow the instructions on how to convert your seat to a booster for maximum safety.
When to Move to a Seat Belt:
For a child to properly fit a seat belt, the child must be:
- Tall enough to sit without slouching;
- Able to keep his or her back against the vehicle seat;
- Able to keep his or her knees naturally bent over the edge of the vehicle seat, and
- Able to keep his or her feet flat on the floor.
- The lap belt must lie snugly across the upper thighs, not the stomach
- The shoulder belt should lie snug across the shoulder and chest; not cross the neck or face (if the child is short you can always get a car seat belt clip to correctly position the shoulder strap).
- Never let children put the shoulder belts under their arm or behind their backs. That could cause severe injuries in a crash.
Best Practice: Keep your child’s seat in the back seat. It is much safer there.
What sort of safety measures do you take to make your car travels with your kids a lot safer?