How old or how much should a child weigh before they should use a booster seat and not a full car seat when riding in a car?

Dawn - posted on 09/24/2010 ( 6 moms have responded )




My grandson, Noah, will be 4 years old on Oct. 2 and weighs 35.4 pounds. I am asking because my son already has him in a booster in his car. I still have a car sear that is good for up to 100 pounds and am not comfortable with him in a booster. I feel like the booster is just like a car lap belt and may injure him if there is an accident.I could use some feedback about this dilemma. Thanks.


Kim - posted on 09/24/2010




Unfortunately in MA they only have to be 4, 40 inches and 40 lbs to be out of a carseat and into a booster-and it doesn't specify harnessed, belt positioner or regular booster(that my almost 11 yr still uses). My daughter just hit 40 lbs at 7, so we kind of let that requirement slip. They do have harnessed boosters which are ok. My Ped asks all the time what the kids are in and letting us know what is safe. And if the lap belt isn't positioned right a sudden stop, not even a crash could hurt his neck, throat, stomach. He could slip under or over the belt and be thrown in an accident. I'd check the laws in your area, you can usually google it, and if he is breaking the law you can point that out.

Kathy - posted on 09/24/2010




At 30 lbs he could go to a booster. A car seat can be good for lbs but if the should strap slots are below the top of his shoulders or the tops of his ears are higher than the back of the seat the child is too tall for the car seat and risks greater injury in it than in a booster. My kids were tall and skinny. They out grew the seat height wise well before weight. The only time it is permissable for a the straps in a car seat to fall below the height of the shoulders is in a rear facing infant seat.

Louise - posted on 09/30/2010




I think if your child fits well into a proper car seat then why change. It is far safer to have head and neck support in a proper chair than just a lap belt booster seat. It is not a legal requirement to have them in a moulded chair but if they fit then leave them in one.

[deleted account]

If you still have car seat that is designed for 100 lbs look at it carefully, does it have a place to use a shoulder belt? If it does then it meant for the transistion to a "booster". A booster seat is a lift up so that the shoulder belt does not go across the neck. The question to ask yourself is not so much how much he weighs but is he Tall enough for the booster. If the in either seat the Shoulder belt crosses his neck then he is not tall enough for a booster. Personally. I like the car seat that works for the kid up to 100 lbs. When they fall asleep it more comfortably padded for the head . We used both for my kids. When the straps on the seat became too tight we removed them and used it as a booster. Since we only had one seat like that, the other child got the traditional booster until age 6 1/2. hope that helps

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Somewhere In - posted on 09/24/2010




You are right! The booster could injure your grandson. My son, who is just seven-years-old now, rode in a 5 point harness until he out grew it and they didn't make one that fit his length or girth at the age of 5 1/2. (He was about 4'0" and approximately 75 pounds, even though his Britax was supposed to fit an even larger child. I absolutely hated putting him in a booster, even though it was a "high back" with thick cushioning.
That said, each states has laws that protect a child. A parent can no longer just put their kid in (or out) of a booster anytime they want. You might want to look up the information for your state on the internet, or call your local police department to find out exactly what criteria they have in place.
Good luck!

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