Booster seats are often overlooked when it comes to a proper fit. A common myth is that once they’re installed in the vehicle it’s simply a case of seating the child. Truth is, just like all other car seats, improper use of a booster seat will mean it’s less likely to provide proper protection in a crash.
We sat down with our CPST to ask for the key things to look for that will achieve a proper booster seat fit. Score each of these for a Grade-A Fit-Check!
- Child is seated with their rear-end all the way back into the booster seat.
- Shoulder belt lays flat across the collar bone between the neck and shoulder.
- Lap belt is low across the hips and not up on the belly.
- Shoulder belt retracts properly when using a high-back booster.
- Child can remain seated properly for the entire duration of the ride (no leaning forward or to the side, no slouching, no playing with seat belt, etc.)
Remember, it doesn’t matter if this is your first time traveling with a booster seat or you consider yourself a seasoned professional. Taking a few minutes to check over each of these steps before each journey ensures that your Very Important Passenger is traveling as safely as possible.
Is it time to switch to a booster seat?
Your kiddo might feel ready to graduate to a booster, but we recommend considering these five things before making the switch.
- Your child weighs 40 lbs or more and is at least 5 years old.
- Your child has outgrown the weight or height limits of their forward-facing car seat.
- Your child has outgrown their car seat but does not fit properly in your vehicle’s seat belt system.
- The seating position that you’ve chosen in your car for the booster seat has a lap/shoulder belt. Lap-only seat belts should never be used with a booster seat because they don’t provide any upper body protection.
- When sitting in a booster seat, your child can sit properly for the whole ride. This means no slouching, leaning, or playing with the seat belt.