Booster Seat Protection 101
How will I know when my child is ready to move out of a booster seat and into a seat belt?
When your child is around eight years of age and four feet, nine inches tall, Walker suggests trying this five-step readiness test:
- Have your child sit with her bottom on the vehicle seat with his back erect against the seat. Can she sit this way comfortably?
- Do her knees bend at the edge of the seat?
- Does the lap belt stay down low on the hips—almost touching the tops of the legs?
- Does the shoulder belt sit on the collar bone—in between the shoulder and the neck so it is not riding on the neck?
- Can the child can hold that position for the entire time that she is going to be in the vehicle?
If the answer to all of the above questions is yes, says Walker, then your child is ready to sit in a seat belt. Because different vehicles have varying seat widths and anchors, this test should be performed for most of the vehicles a child is going to ride in, Walker advises.
My children’s booster seats are correctly installed in my vehicle, but I sometimes need to move them to another one. Is this OK?
“It’s better to have the number of seats in your car that you need in your car and for whoever your child is going with, for them to have the seats in their car that are already installed,” advises Walker. “You really want it to be right. Booster seats do fit a lot better (than car seats), but there are issues with some cars and you should pay attention to them.”
Can my child ride in his booster seat on an airplane?
No, the Federal Aviation Administration has not approved booster seats for use in airplanes, as aircraft are not equipped with shoulder harnesses necessary for the use of belt-positioning boosters. If you wish to take your child’s booster with you on a flight, you may check it with baggage. (For tips on flying safely with children, consult Flying with Children).
Do booster seat laws include school buses?
Not in most states. School buses are generally exempt from the law.
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