What You Need To Know About Car Booster Seats
The seat belts in your car have been designed for adults. Children are too
small to be adequately protected with the regular seat belt system. That is
why it is necessary for children to use car seats. Up to about four years
old children should use car seats with an integrated restraint system. When
they outgrow these seats, they need to use car booster seats as an
intermediate step before using the regular seat belts in the car.
Car booster seats give your child the extra height needed to safely use the
seat belt system in your car. Without the booster seat the lap belt will go
over the stomach and the shoulder belt will approach the neck area. This is
very uncomfortable and most children will put the shoulder belt under their
arm or behind the back which defeats the purpose of the seat belt.
When are car booster seats necessary? As a general rule, children under
eight years of age or less than 4'9" high should be using a booster seat. A
more accurate measurement is to check where the car seat belts are
positioned on your child's body. The lap belt should go over the hips and
the shoulder belt should cross the chest area.
There are two types of car booster seats. The high-back model gives support
and protection to the head and the neck. This model should be used in cars
that have low seats and do not have head rests. The low back model can
safely be used in cars which have high seat backs and headrests to support
The low back models are slightly more convenient to install and remove from
your car. An added advantage to low back car booster seats is that your
child may be less reluctant to use them. As your child gets older, he or she
may feel that he is “too big" to use a car seat. Maybe he is teased by other
kids who see him in a car seat. The low back car booster seat cannot be seen
from outside the car so is perhaps less “embarrassing" then a high-back
If your child is not tall enough to use the regular car seat belt system,
make sure that he or she always uses a booster seat no matter in whose car
she is riding in. Car booster seats save lives. Their slight inconvenience
is a small price to pay.