A lot of people love to travel by car and do so whenever there is an opportunity. It gives a sense of independence like no other means of transportation because you can take a break when and where you want, choose the music, etc.
But things do get a bit complicated when you become a parent because you need to think about ways your kid can travel in the car. Of course, we all know about car seats for children, but there are different types, and it’s not always easy to figure out when to use a booster seat for a certain age. For example, many people are perplexed about when can a child go into a booster seat?
Generally, child safety seats are categorized into five groups.
- Group 0. These are baby car seat designed for babies from birth to about 15 months. Examples are fastened carrycots and infant carriers.
- Group 0 +. These are rear-facing seats without airbags also designed to be used from birth to 15 months.
- Group 1. This is for kids who can sit by themselves without support. It is better if this seat is forward-facing. They permanently fixed in the car with a regular seatbelt, and they have a 5 point harness for protection. The average age of kids for this seat is 9 months to 4 years, which makes them excellent toddler car seat. This also answers questions about what kind of car seat for 3 years old is best.
- Group 2. This is for older kids, between 4 and 6 years old. The seat can be rear or forward-facing.
- Group 3. These are booster seats that do not have a harness but only use an adult seatbelt in a correct position for a child’s safety and protection.
Before we answer the question when can a child sit in a booster seat, let’s first see what it is. A booster seat is a type of chair that elevates the child in the car so that the safety belt can go appropriately over the collar bone and the chest. Belts are commonly designed for adults, so this type of chair supports kids’ safety and protection.
A lot of people get confused about when to transition to the booster seat. Some of the common questions we hear how old for a booster seat and how tall for booster seat should a child be?
According to the department for traffic safety, booster seat age is 5 years old and up who meet manufacturers’ height and weight requirement for booster seat should sit in one until they’ve reached 80 pounds, 4 feet, and 9 inches and turned 8. If you are wondering what is the weight limit for a booster seat, we can tell you that it is 76 pounds.
How do Booster Seats Work to Keep Children Safe?
Now, when we established when to switch to a booster seat and why we will see how do they work to protect children.
After understanding who needs a booster seat, it is critical to realize that these chairs are designed in a way to lift the child so that the seat belt is adequately positioned across their chest and collar bone. The thing is that the regular seat belt that is designed for adults doesn’t hold kids securely as they are much smaller. If they are not sitting in a booster char there, kids will likely get seriously injured even if they use adult safety belts. For example, if the child isn’t sitting in their chair and the strap goes across their stomach instead of the chest, it can cause liver or spleen injuries in case of a crash.
It is vital to know that most states in the U.S proscribe a child to sit in this type of chair to a certain age as well as exactly when to switch to booster seat.
What is the Difference between Booster Seat and a Car Seat?
Okay, so car seats are made for younger kids, and they use a 5 or even 6 point harness as a restraint. They are primarily restraining devices with shoulder, crotch, and waist straps. Booster seat elevates the kid, and there is no harness of any kind. The child is secured with an adult seat belt. It provides protection, but its primary function is to correctly position the vehicle seatbelt, which is, in this case, a restraining device.
What Type of Booster Seat Your Child Need?
There are three types of these chairs: high- backed boosters, backless, and combination seats.
- High – backed have two types: belt position boosters and combination seats. So what is a belt-positioning booster seat? It is similar to the backless model but does have back and head support. It is very convenient because you can use it as a high – backed and backless option. Combination seats function as regular child safety seats with a harness and for younger kids and belt-positioning model, except there, is no option to remove the back support.
- The backless seat is a cushion sometimes with an armrest that elevates the kid in the car so the belt can be placed in the right way.
When to Use High Back Booster Car Seat?
You are wondering when to use a high back best booster car seat? You can start using these booster seats the moment your kid outgrows weight and height requirements of a forward-facing harness. At that time, they usually weigh around 40 pounds, which happens for most kids at about 4 or 5 years of age.
When to Use Backless Booster Seat?
It is essential to know that the backless model should be used only if the seat has headrest or the back is high enough to support a sleeping kid. Children who are sitting in backless booster seats have to be able to sit without slumping even when they sleep. The advantage of these chairs is of course that you can move it quickly and they take less space in the car.
Is a High Back Booster Safer Than Backless?
High back booster seats are the safest of all models. They provide back and head support and a safe place for a child to sleep in during the ride. Nevertheless, even if you are using a backless model, it is much more reliable than not to use it at all.
Common Questions When Using a Booster Seat
One of the common questions is when to remove the back of the booster seat. We would say that there is no need to do it as the back provides protection and extra support. According to some assessments, it is up to 70% safer to leave it on given the child didn’t outgrow the seat. If you still want to take it off, then keep in mind that you need to wait until the child’s shoulders go over the red guides, which are when they are between 8 and 10 years old.
Let’s take a look at other questions people frequently ask.
How to Install Booster Seat?
The best way to understand how to install a backless booster seat or a high back model is to thoroughly read the manufacturer’s manual that came with the specific model — generally, booster seats aren’t attached to the car, unlike child safety seats. Here the belt plays the role of the restrainer for both the chair and the kid. That’s why it is super important that the belt is positioned correctly.
How to Secure a Booster Seat?
As mentioned above, there is no way to fix booster seats to the vehicle. After it has been placed and the child sits, you have to make sure to secure the child properly with a safety belt across the lap and the chest.
When Can a Child Stop Using a Booster Seat?
Another question is, when do kids not need a booster seat? The health department states that the child doesn’t need to use it when she or he weighs at least 80 pounds and is at least 4 feet 9 inches tall. The age limit in the guidelines is between 8 and 12, but most kids reach these requirements only when they are 10 or 11 years old.
We think that we covered all the important information about booster seats. You might think that the age limit until when a child is required to use this kind of chair is a bit too high. Still, we would like to remind you that when it comes to safety in traffic, one can never be cautious enough. We hope that you will enjoy road trips with your kids securely placed in the booster seat. Better to be safe than sorry! Before we leave, we would like to invite you to revisit us because top-mom.com always has a pleasant surprises like, for example, a text about when to switch from high chair to booster seat for table or best car seat protector.