Booster Seat Guidelines For Children

Every year, thousands of children are injured or killed in car crashes. As parents, it’s their job to protect their kids. Car seats are mandatory for vehicles with a child passenger and there are different types aimed at various stages of a child’s growth. Using car seats reduces the risk of injury or death during a car crash. 

Car Seats And Boosters

There are two types of car seats: rear-facing and forward-facing. Rear-facing car seats, sometimes called infant seats, are designed to protect infants by acting like a cradle in case of a crash. Forward-facing car seats have a 5-point harness that limits a child’s movement.

Booster car seats are designed to provide extra protection for children who are too big or too heavy for their car seats. They boost a child’s height when seated so that the vehicle seat belt and lap belt can fit properly.

Seat belts must be snug across the chest and shoulder and lap belts must lie comfortably across the upper thigh. They shouldn’t cross the child’s neck or face or rest on the stomach area.

Belt-positioning boosters also offer additional safety features such as headrests and side-impact protection. There are four types of booster seats:

  • Backless Booster Seat: boosts a child’s height but offers zero head and neck support 
  • High Back Booster Seat: boosts a child’s height and offers head and neck support
  • Combination Seat: initially a forward-facing car seat with a harness that converts into a booster seat
  • All-In-One Seat: a convertible seat that transforms from a rear-facing car seat to a forward-facing car seat and finally a booster seat

General Guidelines For Using Booster Seats

Depending on the state you reside in, the age when a child can use booster seats vary. It’s best to always check the exact guidelines with local authorities. A few factors to consider when looking at booster seats are:

  • Age: In most states, kids aged 4 and older can already use booster seats. However, their height and weight must still be considered. 
  • Weight: A child should weigh more than 40 pounds to use a booster seat. Even if they are 4 years and older, if they don’t meet this requirement, they should continue using a car seat. 
  • Height: Only children at least 35 inches tall are allowed to use booster seats. Once seated, they must be able to place their backs against the vehicle and bend their knees comfortably at the edge of the cushion. 
  • Activity: The child must be mature enough to sit still and sit properly on a booster seat during the entire travel duration. Seat belts must not be played with, and leaning on the side, or slouching should not be tolerated. 

Car seats are usually no longer used after 6 years old. Children no longer need booster seats until they are at least 4’9″ tall. Usually, that’s up until the time they reach 12 years of age.

Again, each state has different laws when it comes to car seats and booster seats. It’s wise to always check local state regulations.

Anticipate Their Needs

Parents know their kids best. Only you can tell when they should move from using a car seat to a booster seat. Always remember that when traveling, the child’s safety is the number one priority. To determine if they are able to ride safely in a vehicle without special assistance, you are the best judge. 

Are you looking for more articles about safety and security tips for kids and your family? Check out our blogs at Be-Safe.