Parenting Vivian | 06 Nov 2010 07:13 am

Booster Seats For Older Children – At What Age Are They Old Enough For Seat Belts?

If you have ever watched a child in a car, that is too small for a regular shoulder seat belt, they will almost always pull it off their shoulder and place it behind them. It is never tight enough to hold them in case of an accident and isn’t doing much good. This is why booster seats were designed. The problem is that just because your child is to big for his forward facing safety car seat, he is still not quite tall enough for the lap and shoulder belts to fit him. Seat belts are just not made to be, “one size fits all.” Your child should ride in booster car seats until his ears can reach the top of the seat. This is usually about 4′ 9″ in height and between ages 8 and 12 years. of age. A booster car seat are made to lift the child up, so that the regular seat belts will lay correctly on your child and hold them tightly.

Booster Seats For School Aged Children

Booster seats are to be used for older children who have outgrown their regular forward-facing car safety seats. There are ways that you can tell whether your child has out grown his car seat and is ready for a booster seat.

  • He has grown tall enough or has reached the weight limit for a harness. Your manual for your car seat will specify what those limits are.
  • When your child’s shoulders are above the very top slots of their car seat. The shoulder straps should be at or above her shoulders.

There are two kinds of booster seats, which are High-back and backless booster seats. They do not come with harness straps, booster seats are to be used with the lap and shoulder belts in your car. They usually come with a plastic clip or guide to help you correctly use them. Make sure to read the manual for directions on how to install them properly.

Installation Tips

1. You must always use a lap and shoulder belt with your booster car seat. It is not safe to use them with only lap belt.

2. When using a booster seat, the lap belt should lie low and snug across your child’s upper legs.

3. The shoulder belt should cross in the middle of your child’s chest.


If your car does not have shoulder belts, do not use booster car seats. You will need to use a forward facing car seat. Another option is a travel vest. Some of them can be use with only lap belts. You must check the manual on each one, as they are all different.

Make sure your child does not tuck the shoulder belt under her arm or behind her back. This leaves the upper body unprotected, putting your child at risk of severe injury in a crash or with sudden braking. Never allow anyone to share a seat belt.

Do not use safety car seats that have been in a moderate or severe crash.

No one seat is the best or the safest. The best child safety seat is the one that fits your child’s age and size. It needs to be correctly installed, fit well in your vehicle, and be used properly every time you drive.

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