Car Seat & Older child??

Susan - posted on 01/03/2011 ( 74 moms have responded )

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I wanted to ask, my daughter will be turning 8 this week and I know that she will be able to move out of her seat, she is in a high back booster seat but I am still a little uneasy about her not using it. She is petite, she weighs 42 lbs and is about 4' tall but is very small boned. What did any of you do?

Thanks for the advice :)

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Kylie - posted on 01/05/2011

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Hi, as a Child Restraint Technician the best advice I can offer you is to keep her in a full booster seat or a booster cushion until she is 148cm tall. Seatbelts in vehicles are designed for adults not children. When a child sits in an adult seatbelt you will find that they slip down & the belt cuts across their neck & the lap belt rides up over the soft part of their tummies intead of across their pelvic bones. We use the saying "buckle my bones, not my body". The risk of internal damage should there be an accident & a child not fitting in the seatbelt correctly at the time is horrific. You are better to be safe than sorry. A booster seat or cushion lifts the child up so the seatbelt fits them correctly & the seatbelt will then do the job that it is intended for. Alot of kids complain that they don't want to sit in a booster but maybe you can try 'you;ll be able to see out the window better" If you would like me to send you some more info please just email me at kylie.kelsen@plunket.org.nz.
Our laws in New Zealand state that a child only has to be in a child restraint until they are 5 years old. This law is seriously outdated & dangerous. Believe me there is alot of advocating out there to get the law changed.
Good luck & I'm sure you will get loads of advice. Just remember that it is your childs safety that is important not what others think. :-)
Kylie

Megan - posted on 01/04/2011

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The one thing you all need to do is read the guidelines for the seats on height and weight requirements for the older children. If they aren't in the right seat or have out grown that you are putting your child in more danger than safety.

Jennifer - posted on 01/07/2011

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As a carseat tech, the info Amy posted makes me want to cry. Not the info so much as parents believe it. :( My 7yo is about 70# and 4'1" or so, he just moved to a booster in Sept. Before that he was harnessed. In our state once a child is 6 they are legally able to go w/out a booster. Our 6yo is barely 40# and 42" tall, he's still harnessed as is our 4yo daughter and our almost 2yo is still rearfacing in her seat. Boosters are important, research shows is a 69% fewer rate of injury (I'd have to double check that) for those in boosters vs those in just seatbelts who need boosters. If you look at growth charts, the average child doesn't hit 4'9" till they are 10-11yo. That's the approximate height kids need to be to fit safely in a seatbelt but it depends on the car as well. I'm 5'3" and there's seatbelts I don't fit in. Here's the guidelines we normally use at seatcheck events to see if a child can go safely w/out a booster. http://www.carseat.org/Boosters/630.pdf Plus I add their feet can reach the floor in this position b/c otherwise they won't stay in the right position while in the car.

Jaime - posted on 01/06/2011

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I totally agree with your uneasiness about moving her out of her seat. My 10 year old still has to use a backless booster. He is not 4'9" yet and a regular seat belt does not fit him correctly. He does not always like it but, it is for his safety. I am an EMT and have seen massive injuries in children that were not is car seats or boosters and the seat belt did not lay over the proper point in the abdomen. Leave her in it. Make sure your seat is the proper one for her weight and height. It is better to be safe than sorry!

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Jennifer - posted on 01/31/2011

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My son is eight as well but like your daughter a very small eight year old. I plan on having him in a booster until he meets the requirements if the seat belt being able to fit properly over his hips instead of his stomach.

Jennifer - posted on 01/31/2011

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I would personally have your daughter keep using the booster seat. It's better for her to be safe and I agree that 42 pounds is way too small to be without the booster.

Sylvia - posted on 01/29/2011

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We're still making my four-foot-something, 43-pound 8-year-old use her high-back booster. Her height is all leg, which means the regular shoulder belt is still way too close to her neck. We haven't had any complaints. But then, we don't have our own car, which means she only uses the booster seat when we have a car from the car share (like, a few times a month); most of the time she's sitting on a regular bus seat like a regular person -- I'm thinking she might complain more if she were riding in the car every day. (But maybe not. Who knows? She's not the only kid her age we know who still needs a booster; it's not like when I was a kid, and I was the only one in kindergarten whose mom still insisted on a carseat.)

We have let her ride in other people's cars without the booster several times since she turned 8 (which we wouldn't have done before), especially if they have a lap-only belt in back that she can use. She's mature enough to sit up straight and pay attention to where the seatbelt is now, which makes me feel better about it, but I'm still planning to make her use the booster in "our" car until she's tall enough to wear the shoulder belt safely.

Alma - posted on 01/28/2011

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My daughter is almost 6 and I told her that she will remain in her booster seat until she is the proper height and weight combined. So she is also petite but until she weighs at least 85lbs she is staying in her booster seat. Better safe than sorry I always say.

[deleted account]

My 9 year old who is 54lbs and 4 ft 1in still sits in her backless booster because of her size. When deciding on car seats u need to look more at the height weight restrictions than the age restrictions. Look into your state laws. Here in Louisiana she has to be 80lbs and 4ft 9in to be out of a booster seat. My 4 year old met height weight restriction for 5 point harness when she was 3 1/2 but I kept her in the 5 pt harness until she was 4 now she is in a high back booster seat and will stay there as long as possible. In my opinion paying attention to their size is more important than their age when it comes to car seats.

Veronica - posted on 01/12/2011

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I would go based on her height and weight. I think that's the best fit for the child. If she's still small, she's going to need the extra protection regardless of her age.

Sherri - posted on 01/12/2011

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In Texas you do NOT have a weight limit the law is 4'9" or 8 yrs old whichever comes first. If they are under the height and age requirement Kat then they must be boostered.

Kat - posted on 01/11/2011

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Thank you for the links. My grandsons are short and obese, so I have the opposite problem whereas weight alone would dictate that they sit in an adult restraint but their height suggest a booster. I've sent an email for answers to the link in my state of texas.

Crystal - posted on 01/11/2011

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although she will be 8 considering she's so small i would keep her in the booster the rule of thumb is usualy 4ft9 and 80lbs and she's not 4ft9 so she's probaly still to small to sit in just a seat belt a backless booster maybe but she definetly still needs to be in a seat

Marta - posted on 01/11/2011

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It's kind of nice hearing about all these petite kids! My daughter is almost 8 and weihs 41lbs. I wouldn't even consider taking away her booster, I'd be scared to death! Luckily, she has no idea that it's even an option at 8, so it shouldn't be an issue.

Michelle - posted on 01/11/2011

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its,theweight.notage,its80,pnds,my,7.yr.weighs.50.and.is.in.a.smaller.booster.without.the.high.back.

Sherri - posted on 01/11/2011

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And that means you are breaking the law Jennifer and ultimately risking her safety. 4'9" isn't a recommendation it is the law and it is a law for a reason.

Jennifer - posted on 01/11/2011

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Check online for your state laws and then see if they are reasonable! The "magic number" in Maryland is 4'9". My daughter is 8, 57 lbs, and 4'6". I can't see out my back window if she is in a carseat. Her knees bend at the end of the seat when she is sitting straight and the seatbelt fits where it is supposed to, so I know she is okay. Again, take all the info you can and apply it to her situation and see what's the SAFEST for her. Good luck!

Eryn - posted on 01/11/2011

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The danger swings the other way too, if you keep them in too long that can also harm the kids. When in doubt find a child saftey seat tech and they can evaluate your situation.

April - posted on 01/11/2011

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Regardless of state law I think for her safty she should remain in her booster, She is much safer that way. I know as a mother of 5 they cant wait to get out of them but I much rather keep her in it till she is ready children die more for being in car accident because of not properly being put in the car.

Michelle - posted on 01/11/2011

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I kept my son in backless booster seat until he was 10 years old since he was small and thin. I finally took him out this past Summer because he the seatbelt could fit around him properly. I think people rush to take their kids out of car seats just because the law says they can but in many cases they are still small and weigh too little to have seatbelts fully protect them.

Eryn - posted on 01/10/2011

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I just moved my 6 year old daughter from a high back booster to just booster. You need to see how she sits in your vehicle with the high back, no back and then no booster. The shoulder belt needs to lay across the shoulder bone with out dipping down her back first, and without it being of her shoulder too. When in doubt you can always contact a child safety seat tech to have them evaluate your car seat to see what is best for your child. They will be completely up to date on the laws of your state.

[deleted account]

You need to keep her in it. I know it grates on her because she is so much older but her size and weight says that she still needs it. My 4 yr old is almost that size and she is in a booster with no back.

Sherri - posted on 01/10/2011

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Actually Otillua it is North Carolina state law requires that all children who are under age 8 and under 80 pounds ride in a properly used car seat or booster seat. Children may be moved to a seat belt when they reach age 8 or 80 pounds, whichever comes first.
http://babyproducts.about.com/od/stateca...

Sherri - posted on 01/10/2011

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You are over 4'9" Michelle. However, until you reached that point yes you LEGALLY needed to be in a booster. This isn't a recommendation it is the LAW!! I am only 5' also not seeing your point here.

Michelle - posted on 01/10/2011

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I know that they recommend 4'9" but my problem with that is...I am only 5' and 3/4" so...does that mean at 33 years old, I should still be in a booster......

Shann - posted on 01/10/2011

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If she still fits in her high back booster, leave her in it. I just took the back off of my 8 year old's booster a few months ago. She got so tall that the back wouldn't go high enough any more. She is very tall for her age though. She still needs the bottom part to boost her up so that the shoulder belt fits properly though. So at the very least, I would keep her in a backless booster. I kept my 8 year old harnessed for a very long time, and my almost 5 year old is still harness. It's all about safety! (We have a Sunshine kids Radian80, which has very high harness slots, and an 80lb weight limit.)

Juliane - posted on 01/10/2011

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my dauther's 9 and petite she's in a no back booster and the belt fits her fine.
her 7 year old sister is bigger then her but she still likes the booster too. it's up to you and her

Candace - posted on 01/09/2011

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Depends on your state whether or not legally, she needs one. MN has the 4'9"/8yr old law, as well.

Jennifer - posted on 01/09/2011

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The Evenflo Maestro is a good choice, less than $90 normally. Harnesses to 50# but has 18" top slots so the same height as the Graco Nautilus or the old Britax Frontier. My 6yo is 42" and has lots of room left in it. Doesn't make a good booster, if you use the harness til it's maxed out, the booster is no good, but boosters are easier to come by for a good price.

Kim - posted on 01/09/2011

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The problem with a lot of these larger carseats or harnessed boosters is they don't say how tall the child can be in the harness only total height with lapbelt use. My 4 yr old is almost 42inches tall. Unless I want to pay a lot for a Britax to use for a year or two, I haven't seen many options. I have her convertible Evenflo Truimph(awesome carseat btw), and 2 harnessed boosters she will soon outgrown but my other daughter was short so she was in the harnessed booster until she was 6 or 7. It should be so much easier to find the right seat!

Lisa - posted on 01/09/2011

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Hey Susan t depend on your state laws but for me, I always considered the size of my child, when my daughter was 8 she was the size of your average 6 year old so she didn't come out of a booster until she was 10!!! Good luck.

Megan - posted on 01/09/2011

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I believe Evenflo came out with a five point harness that goes up to 65 lbs not expernsive like sunshine or britax. I will look into it for you and get back to you,.





Here is what evenflo offers

http://www.evenflo.com/category.aspx?id=...

Here are the sprcs to that seat as well....

•Increased Weight Rating! Internal 5-Point Harness for use with children 20 - 65 lbs.

•Vehicle seat belt only for use with children 30 - 100 lbs.

•5-point harness provides security for your child

•Soft and luxurious ComfortTouch™ head and body pillow give your child the ultimate in comfort.

•PostionRight™ headrest adjusts to 5 heights to grow with your child and maximize safety and comfort.

•TensionRight® easy adjust harness tightening system and Central Front Harness Release allows parents easy access for quick, convenient harness adjustment

•Pivoting armrests which improves ease of entry and lap belt position

•2 recline positions for better vehicle fit

•Removable head pillow and body pillow insert for extra cushion

•Flip out removable Cup holder included; can be used on either side or removed entirely

•3-position adjustable harness to accommodate your growing child

•2 crotch buckle adjustment positions

•Removable, washable cloth pad

•Side Impact Tested! Meets or exceeds all applicable federal safety standards and Evenflo’s side impact standards.

•Designed and tested for structural integrity at energy levels approximately 2X the federal crash test standard

Kim - posted on 01/08/2011

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My 8 yr old uses a regular booster, no back, as does my 11 yr old son if he is in the way back of my Odyssey. I don't like the way the belt rests on his neck/shoulder without it. My 4 yr old is about to outgrow her convertible carseat and I know she can go into a belted booster, I'm not ready for that yet so I am looking for options that aren't too expensive.

Mary - posted on 01/07/2011

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I would suggest that if she can't see over the head of the seat if front of her she should not be sitting without a booster, that is advice I got for a friend of mind

Amanda - posted on 01/07/2011

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I follow the state laws, then trust my instincts if you think they still need one. Our son is 7 1/2 and 50 lbs. and we still use a booster as often as possible. It just makes me feel better about long trips in the car.

Vivian - posted on 01/06/2011

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Keep her in the car seat as long as you can. My daughter just turned 8, her weight is 43lbs. We just took her out of her car seat a week ago. I still feel uneasy about not having her in the car seat, but I am learning to accept it. One more thing is the car seat that she was in saved her life last year, the paramedics and doctors mentioned that the head support saved her from a neck injury. You do what is best for you and your children. Best of luck!

[deleted account]

Car seats and boosters are about raising or supporting your child to make sure the seatbelt rests across the tops of the thighs (not their waist) and that the shoulder strap is across the chest and not cutting into or near the neck. Highbacks aren't necessary to do this but are good if your child falls asleep a lot in the car (where they tend to slump over). My son is almost 9 and similar height/weight as your child and uses a booster. He thinks nothing of it when travelling with others. Its less bulky and provides the same safety. We had to use a clip on the shoulder strap at first until he got a little taller but he'll be in the booster for a good while until that growth spurt. I think best advice comes from your pediatrics where they can explain and demonstrate where the belts should be positioned

Lorri - posted on 01/06/2011

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my son is 8 and he likes his seat so i feel better with him in it. if she does not fight you about it and you fell better that she is in it keep her in the seat

Marcie - posted on 01/06/2011

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my son is 9 & is also small ~ 45 lbs, & ~4 ft. tall. He has been in a regular booster seat for ~ 2 yrs. They seem just as safe - they still lift the child so the seat belt fits properly.

Sherri - posted on 01/06/2011

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Amy a 5pt harness is a car seat NOT a booster and there are also a million and half articles showing the benefits of these 3 items as well. However, I am not going to sit and dispute this issue with you but I believe you should do more research as your articles are from 2008. I would be willing to bet you will find a million articles on the safety of a carseat, booster vs. just a seatbelt.

Keisha - posted on 01/06/2011

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If legally she's able to move out of the seat but, it makes you more comfortable to keep her in the seat, then do just that. As long her height and weight are within the specifications of the seat and she's comfortable, let her stay in it.

Alexandria - posted on 01/06/2011

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Canada is strictly by weight. My poor daughter will be 12 in june and is only 52 pounds and not sure of her exact height but she is too short to be out of a booster. Here they say 60 pounds or her ear has to be above the back of the booster. I must admit, its tempting to not have her in it because of her age but I want her to be safe.

Melissa - posted on 01/06/2011

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Hello. I'm a single mother of 1, 6 year old girl. I would feel uneasy too about taking the car seat away from my daughter also. Also, I'm not sure where you live, but I'm in Michigan. The law here states that a child must be at least 4 feet 9 inches to no longer use a car seat, no matter the age. I hope this was helpful, and good luck!

Amy - posted on 01/06/2011

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My son is tall and rail thin, but I took him out of his booster at 7.5 years at 75 lbs and 4'4". He didn't fit in it anymore... it was too small for his small bum.

Additionally, studies show that there is no statistical difference between booster seats and seat belts for ALL children (this includes 5 point harnesses) in an accident.

The link is no longer active, but here's an article from the Boston Globe regarding MIT studies on carseat effectiveness:

PERSPECTIVE
Children, Seat Belts, and Safety
Will the "booster seat" law make a big difference?
By Neil Swidey | June 29, 2008

The other day, after stopping at a traffic light in Dorchester, I glanced over to the next lane to find a Toyota driven by a young mother. There were three young kids bouncing around the back seat and a slightly older kid riding shotgun. All of them were unbuckled.

I've been thinking about that scene lately in light of Massachusetts's new tougher "booster seat" law, which will go into effect July 10. The old law required that all children under age 5 and 40 pounds be buckled into child safety seats, and after that use seat belts. The new law mandates that they stay in child seats or booster seats (which lift the child to make the adult seat belt fit more properly) until they reach the age of 8 or the height of 4 feet 9 inches, when they can switch to seat belts.

Its backers tout the law as a huge leap forward for safety, arguing in one news release that the existing statute "falsely suggests to parents that it is safe for their children who are 5, 6, and 7 years old to be placed in an adult safety belt."

As a father of three who has driven cabbies nuts as I did the complicated dance to install an infant car seat for a ride from the airport, I fully support government intervention to save children's lives. After poring over multiple studies and talking at length with dueling researchers,I am persuaded that the booster seat law will reduce injury. But there's solid data suggesting the reductions may well be considerably more modest than promised. And I'd wager that the new law, like the old one, will do little to curtail the risky behavior of parents like that Dorchester mom.

As child-seat laws have been strengthened in and spread to all 50 states, we've seen a dramatic improvement in safety for kids. Still, car accidents remain the leading cause of death for children ages 2 to 14. Of all the fatal US crashes in 2006 where there was a child passenger, one-quarter of those kids were riding unrestrained - without a car seat or seat belt. In cases where a child was among the fatalities, close to half of those kids were riding unrestrained.

The new law doesn't ask much of parents, since, unlike those infuriatingly complex and often improperly installed infant car seats, booster seats are pretty cheap and simple to use. But it sends the troubling message that parents who let their 4- to 7-year-old kids ride around buckled into seat belts are just as irresponsible as those who let them ride around without any kind of restraint. That's just not true.

In 2005, economist and Freakonomics co-author Steven Levitt caused a stir by arguing that for children ages 2 to 6, there was no meaningful difference in fatality rates between those in child safety seats and those in regular seat belts. Researchers at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia fired back, accusing Levitt of recklessly drawing conclusions based on fatalities and overlooking the higher risks of serious injury, particularly to the abdomen and spine, faced by kids restrained by seat belts designed for adults.

But in 2006, Levitt and MIT economist Joseph Doyle looked squarely at injuries. They found no difference between child seats and lap-and-shoulder seat belts in the two most serious injury categories, though they did report a 25 percent reduction in the least serious injury category for those riding in child seats. Their results differ significantly from the Philadelphia team's finding of a 59 percent reduction in the risk of injuries for child-seat passengers, a data point that has become the linchpin citation in booster seat legislative efforts in other states.

Doyle and Kristy Arbogast, the Philly team's director of field research and engineering, each question the other side's methodology. I'm no expert, but both studies struck me as rigorous, if imperfect.

Their disagreement obscures an important question: Why hasn't the auto industry been forced to design adjustable seat belts that work for both kids and adults? Arbogast says that, believe it or not, no one has been able to design a crash-test dummy that accurately simulates a child's abdomen and pelvis.

As for the new state law, Doyle calls it feel-good legislation: "You feel like you're helping people. But it's not the best way to make public policy." He argues it would have been more effective to do what 12 other states have done and pass a law prohibiting kids from riding in the front seat. Researchers agree that children are much safer if they ride in the rear.

Still, Doyle, who has a 1-year-old and a baby on the way, says he'll obey the booster seat law - and an equally influential authority - when his kids get older. "My wife," he says, "isn't going to listen to me about using seat belts."

Neil Swidey is a Globe Magazine staff writer. E-mail him at swidey@globe.com.

Law specifics


These are the 12 states that have passed laws prohibiting children from riding in the front seat, when possible, and the ages involved:

Washington: 12 years and younger must be in rear seat if practical

Maine: 11 years and younger and less than 100 pounds must be in rear seat if available

Tennessee: 8 years and younger and less than 4-foot-9 must be in rear seat if available; rear seat recommended for children ages 9 through 12

Wyoming: 8 years and younger must be in the rear seat if available

New Jersey: 7 years and younger and less than 80 pounds must be in the rear seat if available

Rhode Island: 6 years and younger must be in rear seat if available

Georgia: 5 years and younger must be in rear seat if available

South Carolina: 5 years and younger must be in rear seat if available

California: 5 years and younger or less than 60 pounds must be in the rear seat (see note at bottom)

Wisconsin: 3 years and younger must be in a rear seat, if available

New Mexico: Children younger than 1 year in a rear-facing infant seat must be in the rear seat if available

Virginia: Children in rear-facing devices must be in a rear seat if available; if not available, they may be placed in the front only if front passenger airbag is deactivated

Note: All of these laws state that the preference for the rear seating position is subject to availability. Even California comes with the following disclaimer:

In California, children weighing more than 40 pounds may be belted without a booster seat if they are seated in the rear seat of a vehicle not equipped with lap/shoulder belts. The California rear seat requirement does not apply if: there is no rear seat; the rear seats are side-facing jump seats; the rear seats are rear-facing seats; the child passenger restraint system cannot be installed properly in the rear seat; all rear seats are already occupied by children under 12 years; or medical reasons necessitate that the child not ride in the rear seat. A child may not ride in the front of a motor vehicle with an active pasenger airbag if the child is under 1 year of age, or weighs less than 20 pounds or is riding in a rear-facing child restraint system.

Source: The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety



© Copyright 2009 The New York Times Company

Sherri - posted on 01/06/2011

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Well I plan on leaving mine in his 5pt harness until he reaches the 65lb weight limit for the straps. Since my middle son is 12 and only 78lbs. He could be in it until he is tall enough for just a seatbelt and basically that is my plan.

Sharalyn - posted on 01/06/2011

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Hey--based on height, I would have been in a booster until age 14.5 years old. Based on the 80 pound recommendation, I would have had my license and still been in a booster. ;-)

Nicole - posted on 01/06/2011

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My daughter is also going to be 8 and is on the petite side. Because her 5 yr old brother almost out weighs her, I don't feel comfortable not using a booster seat for her. We just took the high back off the booster seat and are only using the bottom Booster part of it now so she is happy.She feels as though she has Graduated from the Kiddie seat. Perhaps give that a try? At this point she will be in a booster until she is 12! haha, not really. ;)

Cheryl - posted on 01/06/2011

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My son is 8, almost 9, but very small for his age too! We have him in a Clek seat which is awesome. He also passes the requirements to not be in a seat, but because he is small it makes mom & dad (who is a paramedic/firefighter) feel much safer! If yu haven't heard of Clek check them out. Their booster seats actually click into your car so they won't fly around if you ever are in an accident.

Cheryl - posted on 01/06/2011

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My son is 8, almost 9, but very small for his age too! We have him in a Clek seat which is awesome. He also passes the requirements to not be in a seat, but because he is small it makes mom & dad (who is a paramedic/firefighter) feel much safer! If yu haven't heard of Clek check them out. Their booster seats actually click into your car so they won't fly around if you ever are in an accident.

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