Let’s face it, there’s a lot to think about and remember when it comes to child safety. From door locks to outlet covers, we want to make sure our children have a safe environment in which to learn and grow. At the top of any good child safety checklist is a quality car seat – appropriate for each developmental age and stage of your child’s life.
Even the most advanced car seat in the world is ineffective when not used correctly. Whichever seat your child is in, you have to ensure it’s properly installed and that your child is buckled in correctly. It’s best to follow the latest guidelines from doctors and safety experts to ensure that your child is as safe as possible when riding in your or any vehicle, this involves rear or forward facing and which seat is best for their height, weight and age.
However, as your children get older, car seats become a little less complicated until finally you are left with the simple booster seat. But, how do you know when your child is ready to move from a front-facing harness seat to a booster seat?
Lucky for you, our writers put together a few tips to help you make the best choice for your child. So keep reading to for some important guidelines designed to help you decide when the time is right to move your child into a booster seat.
First, Here’s How Booster Seats Work
Unlike all other car seats, booster seats don’t typically attach to your vehicle (although there are some models that do.) These car seats are designed to position your child correctly for a shoulder seat belt to be effective. In other words, they are simply a tool to ensure that the car’s built in safety features can work correctly on a smaller body. They give children a lot more freedom to move around than harness seats do, so kids need to be ready for a booster seat both physically and developmentally.
Don’t Be in a Rush to Graduate
We love to see our children reach the next milestone, but moving up into the next car seat level isn’t the same as learning how to read or swim. Most pediatricians recommend keeping your child in a forward facing harness seat until they have outgrown the manufacturer’s weight limit, or until their ears are about the top of the seat.
Ensure that you always know which model car seat your child is currently in. As they grow, monitor their height, weight and strap positioning to ensure their seat is still a good fit for them.
Posture and Positioning & Maturity
Doctors recommend that children should be at least 4-years-old and 40 lbs before moving into a booster seat. But, If you think your child will wriggle out of a booster seat, fiddle with the seat belt buckle or slouch over often during your drive – then the time isn’t right to move up into a booster. Keep them in a forward facing harness a bit longer until you think that they can handle the boost seat developmentally.
What Type of Booster Seat is Right For My Child?
There are 2 main types of booster seats – high back boosters and backless booster seats. Both of these car seats raise your child’s body up so a shoulder seat belt can be correctly positioned over them. The high back booster seats offer a bit more support along the back and sides of the child, which is especially helpful if they nod off on while driving. They also generally come with snack and cup holder if that’s important to you. On the other backless booster seats are smaller and easier to switch between vehicles so before you purchase a booster seat for your child, think about what the best fit would be for your family.
Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash