Booster seats are a type of car seat designed for children who have outgrown their forward-facing car seats but are not yet big enough to use a regular seat belt. Booster seats are an important safety measure for young children because they elevate them so that the seat belt fits correctly and protects them in case of an accident. what are booster seats and how do they work you should know.
Booster Seats—What Are They?
The seat belt restrains a booster seat. Booster seats raise youngsters in vehicle seats so adult seat belts fit better. Many feature clips that position shoulder and lap belts.
Despite outgrowing a front-facing car seat, a youngster is still too little for a seat belt to protect them in an accident. Crashing with neck or belly straps might hurt. Booster seats place your child's seat belt correctly.
What Types of Booster Seats Are There?
High-back booster seat
Booster seats with a high back are recommended for vehicles with low seat backs or no headrests. A high-back booster is a mini-seat with a back and bottom that sits atop a passenger seat. High-back boosters include a seat belt guide to thread a vehicle's shoulder belt for a perfect fit. Several high-backs offer cushioned headrests and height-adjustable backrests.
Advantage: This kind of booster is available in combo seats. That's a booster seat with a built-in harness that can be detached for use as a regular car seat. The seat can last longer before needing to be replaced. Many of these seats also feature loops or hooks that allow you to position the car seat belt across your child's body at the correct angle.
Cons: Nonetheless, they may be more costly and cumbersome than booster seats without backs.
Backless booster seat
Combination high-back booster seats are another hybrid kind. These hybrid seats may be used as a five-point harness car seat for children under 40 pounds or a belt-positioning booster for youngsters over 40 pounds. These chairs normally have non-removable backs. For vehicles with headrests and taller seat backs, a booster seat without a back is the best option.
Advantages: include low cost and portability between vehicles. They don't appear as much like a baby seats, which is a selling point for some kids.
Negative: There is no included loop for adjusting the angle of the vehicle seat belt over the child's body.
How do you install a vehicle booster seat?
Booster seats are in the rear passenger seat. Some boosters don't attach to a car seat. Others use connections to fasten the booster to your car's bottom anchors. This prevents the booster from slipping when your kid gets in and out but doesn't affect safety. It also protects unused booster seats from becoming projectiles in an accident. If your booster doesn't have connections, store it in your trunk or buckle it while your kid isn't in it.
When Can a Child Transition to a Booster Seat?
The Car Seat Lady recommends using a booster seat until the vehicle's seat belt fits correctly on the kid's body (lap belt on lap, shoulder belt between neck and shoulder) and the youngster fits properly on the seat (they are able to sit back with their knees bent without slouching).
Most states permit children to use booster seats until eight years old, while restrictions vary. Nevertheless, age alone does not indicate when your kid may go from a car seat to a booster. Learn when to switch securely.
- Fill your forward-facing car seat. Don't switch to a booster seat until your youngster reaches the forward-facing car seat's weight and height limits. Some seats have 40-pound or five-year restrictions, while others have significantly greater limits.
- Booster seat height and weight restrictions. All car seats, including boosters, have height and weight restrictions. Make sure your kid matches your booster seat's criteria before switching, but don't hurry or rely on weight alone. Many booster seats have a 40-pound minimum weight, however, the weight alone does not indicate readiness. See below. Most car seat safety experts advise against switching to a booster seat too soon.
- Sit well. When switching your kid from a car seat to a booster, consider their mobility. When tightened, a car seat's five-point harness restricts your child's movement. Boosters don't. When driving, your youngster should not lean over, twist, or poke a sibling. Most youngsters can sit correctly in a booster between five and seven years old.
Unsure when to switch? The Child Passenger Safety Experts at Car Seats for the Littles recommend keeping these four items in mind (AKA trained car seat safety experts). Your kid must:
- 5+ years old.
- Meet your booster seat's minimal height and weight.
- Always sit correctly, even while sleeping.
- Fit your seatbelt.
Your child will spend the majority of their childhood in a car seat or booster seat.
Car seats in the United States must conform to strict safety regulations, and there are various models available to accommodate children of varying ages and sizes. Each state has its own version of these rules, but international rules may be different.
- When you see these signs in your child, you know it's time for a booster seat:
- children who are at least 4 years old and 35 inches (88 cm) tall (and therefore no longer require a forward-facing car seat)
In addition, make sure to use the booster seat in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions.
There are specific height and weight restrictions associated with each type of car seat and booster seat. Here are some guidelines to help you choose the best car seat for your child and know when it's time to upgrade.
If your kid is too big or heavy for their forward-facing car seat, it's time to upgrade to a booster seat.
There are typically three types of car seats used for children:
Auto seat facing backward
In accordance with guidance from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), infants should ride in rear-facing car seats until they outgrow them. Depending on the kind of seat, this may range from 30 to 60 pounds (13.6 to 27.2 kg).
A convertible car seat installed in the rear-facing position is ideal for children who have outgrown their rear-facing seat before the age of 2.
Automobile seat facing front
When your child outgrows the height or weight limit for their rear-facing car seat, use a forward-facing car seat until they reach the height or weight limit for that seat. Depending on the model, it may range from 60 to 100 pounds (27.2 to 45.4 kg).
Your kid will require a booster seat until they are over 57 inches (145 cm) tall, even if they have outgrown their infant car seat. And they should sit in the back of your car until they’re 13 years old.
Is it preferable to use a booster seat with a high back or one without?
Professionals in the field of automotive safety advise keeping kids in high-back booster seats for as long as feasible. This is because, particularly for younger children, high-back boosters perform a better job of aligning both the child's body and the vehicle's seat belt. If your kid has a habit of dozing off in the vehicle, you may want to consider investing in a high-back booster seat to keep them from falling into an uncomfortable position.
The Car Seat Lady recommends that the height of the car seat be at least as high as the child's ears when using a backless booster. In the case of a collision, the skull requires protection, and the top of the ears is at the same level as the base of the skull. A high-back booster should be used if your child's ears are over the top of the car seat.
When should I quit using a booster seat for my kid?
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends using a booster seat until the kid is at least four feet nine inches tall or is at least 12 years old, whichever comes first. When these signs occur, it's time to turn off the booster:
- The shoulder belt should rest over your child's shoulder and chest, not their neck or throat.
- The lap belt is positioned low and tight over the upper thighs, rather than across the stomach.
- It is okay for your youngster to travel in your automobile with his or her back against the seat and legs bent over the edge of the seat without slouching.
Booster seat etiquette
Always follow the manufacturer's instructions while setting up a booster seat. To make sure your child's car seat or booster is installed correctly, you may visit your local fire or police station. It's probably best to schedule an appointment for this.
Don't forget to fill out the safety recall card that was included with the seat. This will allow the manufacturer to contact you promptly if they find any problems or safety issues with your seat.
To use a booster seat:
- Place the booster seat's center anchor point on a rear seat in the vehicle.
- Use the booster seat for your kid.
- Put the car seat belt through the slots in the booster seat and the lap belt through the buckle.
- Lap belts should be snugged down so that they lie flat against a child's thighs.
- Ensure sure the shoulder strap crosses in the center of your child's chest and does not touch their neck.
- Booster seats should never be used in conjunction with a lap belt. Both the lap and shoulder belts must be used while a child is in the car.
- Never put a booster seat in the front seat, even if your kid still meets the age requirements for one. Children may be injured by front-seat airbags.
Make the booster seat more appealing by calling it your child's "racing car seat" if he or she is resisting using one.
Car safety tips
If a seat belt positioner or other accessory didn't come with your booster seat, you shouldn't use it. Safety standards do not apply to add-ons that are purchased separately.
Even if they no longer need a booster, children under the age of 13 should still ride in the backseat rather than the front.
Until your kid reaches the height or weight restriction, they should always ride in a car seat rather than a booster. Don't move your youngster up to a less restricted seat before they've outgrown the one they're currently in.
Having children in the vehicle may be a major disruption. If they are trying to get your attention while you're driving, you should tell them that maintaining concentration on the road is more crucial right now.
Safe car seats are essential for children beginning at birth. Several types of car seats accommodate children of varying ages and sizes by using either the vehicle's LATCH system or the seat belt.
It's crucial that you get and utilize the correct car seat for your kid. No matter how old your kid is, they should remain in their current car seat until they have outgrown it.
Nobody plans on having an accident, but if one does happen, being prepared is the best thing you can do.