Car Seat Safety

Child Passenger Safety Week 2017 – Ready for a Booster Seat?

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Booster Minimums

If your child fits in a 5 point harness, you can definitely leave them there. There is no need to rush to a booster. In order to use a booster, there must be a lap and shoulder belt where the child is to sit. The child must be at least 40lbs, 4 years old and be able to sit still for the whole trip. These are minimums but a child at 40lbs and 4 years old should fit easily in a convertible seat.

Types of Boosters

Backless boosters are just what they sound like, a seat with no back. It positions the child so that the seat belt sits on the child properly. Backless boosters have an optional belt positioner to place the shoulder belt correctly across the child’s shoulder.

High Back Boosters look more like forward facing car seats in that they have a seat and back. They don’t have harness straps. They do position the seat belt across the child’s hips and shoulder. A lot of high back boosters have removable backs so they can be used as a backless booster later on.

Combination seats are forward facing car seats with a 5 point harness that can be turned into high back boosters.

Booster Usage Tips

  • Make sure that the seat belt fits the child low across the hips – not on the thighs or stomach.
  • The shoulder belt should touch the chest and shoulder – not be hovering in front and not across the child’s neck or arm.
  • The shoulder belt should slide freely through the belt guide in a way that doesn’t get stuck. and stay loose.

If any of those are issues, try a different booster and/or different seating location in your vehicle.

Moving Out of a Booster

It might not be “cool” to be in a booster as a big kid or tween but it could be safer. Before moving your child to a regular seat in the car make sure they can sit upright and properly in the seat, can bend their knees at the edge of the seat, and have their whole back against the vehicle seat back. Also make sure that the lap belt is low across their hip bones (not the thighs or stomach) and the shoulder belt hits their shoulder (not their neck or face).

 

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