Keeping your children safe while in the car is the most important part of every journey. When they’re very little, you will keep them in special carriers or seats for babies and toddlers. But, when your child becomes too big for these carriers, they usually transition to booster car seats.
These seats allow your child to sit upright like a normal human being, but they provide extra safety during the journeys. The added height means your child is less at risk of injuries if there’s a crash. Plus, most booster seats are designed with further protection to keep your child as safe as can be.
Most parents will start transitioning their kids to booster seats when they’re around four. However, when should your child stop sitting in one of these seats?
What does the law say?
As with every law in this country, different states say different things. However, a general consensus is that your child legally needs to remain in a booster seat until they are eight years old, or 80 lbs, or 4’9”.
‘Or’ is the keyword here. Most laws surrounding booster seats will stipulate that your child has to meet one of these conditions; whichever comes first. So, if they reach 80lbs or are 4’9” before they turn eight, you should transition them out of the booster seat.
Of course, be sure to check the laws depending on where you live. Here’s a good article that breaks down all of the state car laws in the US.
Can you keep your child in a booster seat for longer?
Yes, you can. The laws are there to ensure that you don’t move them out of their booster seat too early. If you feel safer with your child in a seat for longer than the conditions above, then you’re more than welcome to do this.
It does depend on how big they are, however. As you can see, booster car seats are available here, and they come with various weight restrictions. If your child becomes too heavy for the seat, it is a good idea to move them out of it. Likewise, if they get too tall, then you should get rid of the seat.
How can you keep your child safe without a booster seat?
Generally, most children will be out of their booster seats when they’re 8 or 9. Of course, they are still very small and young – compared to adults, anyway. So, you will still have concerns over their safety, which is fair enough. How can you keep them safe without the added protection of a booster seat?
It’s simple; drive safely. Don’t speed around, don’t drive like an idiot, and always ensure your child has their seatbelt on. This is the most important thing to remember; never start a journey until you have visual confirmation that their seatbelt is on properly. Then, drive safely, and your child will be fine.
To summarize, you should typically start thinking about transitioning your child out of a car safety seat when they are eight years old, or 40lbs, or 4’9” – whichever of these comes first.