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Maybe it is just me, but I see posts every day about car seat safety that are heavy on the topic of harness car seats and light on booster seats. Granted “big kids” are sturdier than babies. However, using booster seats properly and long enough is just as important. And I see far more people rushing kids into booster seats and rushing them OUT of booster seats than I see people making mistakes with harness seats.

Booster Seats

Here’s a real life example. Last summer, my sister was tootling her way down to Edisto Beach. On one of the pretty roads where the speed limit is 35 or 45, she was in a line of cars that were all going the speed limit and safely spaced apart. Suddenly two cars in front of her someone braked too quickly and their trailer lights were NOT functioning. The large SUV in front of her slammed their brakes and must have jerked the steering wheel out of instinct to avoid hitting them. With no rain, the SUV flipped and slid across the road from braking and over-correcting.

My sister and the driver behind her immediately stopped and ran across to get check on everyone and get them out of the car due to possible fire. It was a dad and his three daughters. The dad was banged up. But all three girls were safe and snug in their booster seats. She guesses they were between 5-10. The first responders commented that it would have been MUCH worse had the girls not been in booster seats.

When my sister got to the beach house, the look on her face and emotion in her voice as she told me the story was intense. The “what ifs” scared the bejeezus out of me.

Keep your kid in a booster seat as long as possible.

Booster Seats Info
Booster Seat Info from SafeKids.org

“But my kid pitches a fit, because it’s ’embarrassing’ at school pick up.”
Just think of teaching them now that safety trumps coolness as preparation for the teenage years.

“What about carpool?”
I totally understand that sending the booster seat to dance with your kid if your neighbor picks up and you drop off is not ideal. In cases like this, either send the car seat or if it’s an ongoing thing, invest the $20-$40 in an extra booster seat to keep in your car. You can ask the neighbor to do the same or offer to buy an extra seat to skip the whole “seat transfer” thing.

As a general guideline, a child has outgrown a forward-facing seat (and should move to a booster seat) when any of the following is true:

  • He reaches the top weight or height allowed for his seat with a harness. (These limits are listed on the seat and also included in the instruction booklet).
  • His shoulders are above the top harness slots.
  • The tops of his ears have reached the top of the seat.

The rule is 4’9″ AND 80-100 lbs for moving from booster seat to seat belt alone.

This is usually between 8-12 years old. Most children do not fit in a seat belt alone until around 10 to 11 years old.

An adult seat belt fits correctly when:

  • The shoulder belt lies across the middle of the chest and shoulder, not the neck or throat.
  • The lap belt is low and snug across the upper thighs, not the belly.
  • Your child is tall enough to sit against the vehicle seat back with her knees bent over the edge of the seat without slouching and can comfortably stay in this position throughout the trip.



Lexington Police Department will be on hand at Babies & Bumps on May 13th providing free car seat safety checks and safety information. I HIGHLY recommend getting your car seat checked. Better safe than sorry.

What booster seats do you recommend?



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