Children over 40 pounds, ages 4-8, but less than 4 foot 9 inches tall should be using a belt-positioning booster seat in conjunction with the vehicle lap and shoulder belt.
Are there different types of boosters?
Yes, there are two different types of boosters--backelss boosters, and high-backed boosters. Which one to choose depends on your vehicle, the age, height and weight of your child, and you and your child's own preferences. Backless boosters are smaller and lighter and this makes them great for travel. HIgh-backed boosters are better for sleeping and according to one study, are more beneficial in side impacts compared to seat belts or backless boosters.
Who Should Ride in a Booster?
Kids, especially younger ones, are safer in a 5-point harness. Don’t rush to “graduate” your child to a booster seat. Kids who are AT LEAST 40 pounds AND AT LEAST 3-4 years old can start riding on boosters.
If you can answer "Yes" to ALL the statements below, your child is okay to use a booster:
· There is a shoulder AND lap belt where the child sits
· The child is at least 40 pounds (kids are safer in a 5-point harness, especially those under 40lbs)
· The child is at least 3-4 years old
· The child can sit still the entire trip without leaning forward or sitting on their knees
When Can My Child Stop Using a Booster?
Do not stop using a booster seat unless you can answer "yes" to ALL of the questions. Unless you can answer "yes" to all the questions, your child still needs a booster in order for the seat belt to fit correctly.
The 5-Step Test
· Does the child sit all the way back against the auto seat?
· Do the child's knees bend comfortably at the edge of the auto seat?
· Does the belt cross the shoulder between the neck and arm?
· Is the lap belt as low as possible, touching the thighs?
· Can the child stay seated like this for the whole trip?