Child Passenger Safety Week | Blank Children's Hospital

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Child Passenger Safety Week 2016

Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Booster Seat Usage

When can my child be done with the booster?

This is a very common question that does not have a magical number of years alive connected to it!  Every child is different and it is so much more about the vehicle seat belt fit, than the weight and age of a child.

Boosters do just what their name suggests – they boost children up so that the vehicle seat belt (designed for the comfort and fit of adult passengers) fit child occupants

correctly – the shoulder belt crosses over the child’s collar bone (not in the neck or off the shoulder) and the lap portion of the seat belt crosses over the child’s upper thighs and over the hard hip bones.

Your child should ride in a booster seat until they can pass the Seat Belt Fit Test:

  • Bottom all the way back against vehicle seat
  • Knees bend over the vehicle seat edge
  • Feet touch the vehicle floor board
  • Vehicle lap and shoulder belt fit properly – crossing over the collar bone and over the child’s upper thighs. 

 Until your child is able to pass the Seat Belt Fit Test, boost them with a booster!  Booster seats are required to be utilized in a seating position that has a lap AND shoulder belt system.  Boosters cannot be used in a seating position where there is a lap belt only.  A lap belt only does not provide the occupant with any upper body protection/restraint in the event of a crash.  

Watch a video from the National Child Passenger Safety Board.


 See how a booster seat compares to a lap belt only.  

See how a booster seat compares to a lap and shoulder belt. 

How old does my child have to be to sit in the front seat?

All children younger than 13 years should ride in the back seat. If absolutely necessary, a child in a forward-facing seat with a harness may be the best choice to ride in front versus a booster seat child or seat belt only child. This is because so long as the harnessed child is properly secured in their car seat and the car seat is properly installed, the odds of them being in proper seating position pre-crash, is much higher than that of a child secured with a seat belt and booster seat or seat belt alone. Just be sure the vehicle seat is moved as far back away from the dashboard (and air bag) as possible.

Watch a video on air bag safety.


More Information

Click here for additional information on your child’s vehicle safety for any age and stage.