Monday, January 28, 2008

Booster Seats

I might not want to be in a such a big hurry to graduate my children to their big kid seats.

The Law: Car seat until 4 years old and 40 lbs
Booster seat
until 8 years old and 80 lbs

However, this rule doesn't tell us when to go from a booster with a five point harness to a loose seat and the car's seat belt. Here's a question from a reader:

Hi Jen. Thank you for the great website that is loaded with useful information for all of us Moms! I have a question about the safety of booster seats. I am not eager to take our 40 lb 4 year old out and into a booster. I have read about the booster seats not being as safe using the car's seat belt and to keep children in the 5 point harness as long as possible. So, I did find a booster that uses a 5 point harness, but it is pricey. So should we spend the extra money on the 5 point booster?

According to the National Highway Safety Traffic Administration, you should keep your child in a five point harness for as long as he/she fits in into it. The NHTSA says to check the weight limit of your high back booster, but most of them go up to 80 pounds.

However, the NHTSA says many kids get too wide or too tall to use a high back booster by the time they reach 65-70 pounds. The NHTSA says to use a booster seat that has a detachable base at this point because the high back boosters with a five point harness tend to sit up too high for the lap belt in a car.

"Another type of seat for a child who is at least one year old and weighs at least 20-30 pounds, is a forward-facing-only seat with a harness. Most of these seats come with a removable harness and are called combination seats or child seat/boosters. Some manufacturers call these seats high back boosters, which is confusing because the term "booster" is generally used to describe a seat that lifts a child up to improve the fit of vehicle lap and shoulder belts......For best protection, use the built in harness until the child outgrows it. "

If you want to know which safety seat is best for your child, you can find the answer by looking through a list of car seat safety questions.

I have an almost 12 month old and I was surprised to learn the NHTSA recommends keeping him rear facing even if he is 20 pounds. The NHTSA says not to turn the child forward facing until he/she outgrows the weight limit that is printed on the seat. The child could be almost two before this happens.

-NewsAnchorMom Jen


Maria said...

I kept The Boy rear facing as long as I could, but when he had to sit with his knees scrunched up towards his chest, I decided it was time to turn him around. He was over 20 pounds and just about 1 year. He also was getting mad in the car, because he couldn't see where we were going, and he didn't like it one bit!

Exblick said...

We kept our boys in high-backed boosters within the bucket seat/captain's chairs of our van FOREVER! They are lean and mean guys and didn't hit 80 pounds till they were in the 4th grade. (That's 80 pounds on a full stomach!) They complained about being the only kids they knew in "baby seats" but when given the choice of not leaving the garage unless strapped in, we never had a problem.

Additionally, because my kids have a medical condition that emergency professionals need to know about as soon as possible, I attach medical identification via a clear luggage tag to their seatbelts/car seats.

tls1995 said...

I too turned my daughter around before her 1st birthday because her legs were just too long for a rear facing seat. She outgrew the forward facing car seat due to her height just before her 2nd birthday. We have been using a tall booster seat with a 5 point harness for the last 1 1/2 years. The box says this one will fit her until she is 4 foot tall. Let's hope so!

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