Booster seats have been designed to allow seat belt usage by a child who no longer needs forward-facing seats. The booster seat positions a child in such a way that the seat belt is safely located on the lap and shoulder.
While it may seem tempting, Don’t be in a rush to move your child to a booster seat. Provided your child is within the acceptable weight and height ranges of a forward-facing seat and fits the car seat appropriately, safety is maximized by using this sear for as long as possible
Installing your booster seat
To maximize safety, always install the booster seat in the back seat of your vehicle. This safely places your child at a maximum distance from front air bags should they inflate.
Booster seats can vary a great deal; as such, so does their installation. Be sure to read your vehicle owner’s manual along with your booster seat user guide.
Regardless of type, a correctly installed booster seat will keep the lap and shoulder belts optimally placed across your child’s:
Be sure to carefully follow the directions for routing the vehicle seat belt when using the booster seat.
With respects to the low-backed booster, ensure your child has support from either the
- vehicle seat
- vehicle headrest
to at least the middle of his or her ears. This support is critical in protecting your child’s head and neck in the event of a crash.
How to buckle up your child the right way
For booster back car seats, ensure the height is adjusted according to the user guide installation and instructions.
If there is a seat belt guide, ensure that it is adjusted according to the booster seat user guide installation instructions
Make sure the shoulder belt rests centered on your child’s shoulder. Never allow the shoulder belt to rest on the neck, arm, or under the arm. Also, ensure there is no slack in the shoulder belt (you may wish to check this frequently if your child is moving around).
By virtue of it’s name, the lap belt should be snug against your child’s hips (lap) – not their stomach.
When it it time to move to a seat belt?
The general guideline here is:
- Your child must be able to sit up straight
- His or her back should be against the back of your vehicle’s seat
- Your child’s legs should be able to hang over the seat without slouching
The issue with slouching is that it makes the lap belt move up over the stomach – when it should in fact be over the hips. As mentioned above, the shoulder belt should rest on your child’s shoulder – never on the neck or arm.
If you notice that your child can’t sit in the position listed above while wearing a seat belt, or the vehicle seat belt does not fit properly, a booster seat is still required.
Remember, If your child grows out of their booster seat before they happen to be ready to only a seat belt, there is very likely another booster seat that can be found and purchased.