Parents stress over the correct installation of their car seats, and rightfully so. Child safety seats reduce the risk of death in passenger cars by 71% for infants and by 54% for toddlers, ages 1 to 4 years. (Info provided by the CDC.)
However, as your twinnies get older, some parents may get a bit lax, (yes, we know it’s not you; we are talking about OTHER parents.) By the time your kiddos are in booster seats, you may just find them to be more of a pain in the butt, then a necessary piece of equipment. Well, for those of you who are ready to toss them out the window or for those JUST moving into booster seats, here’s a quick refresher course for you.
Booster seats are a type of child restraint that do not have a five-point harness system, but rather rely on the vehicle seat belt system to keep your child restrained. The booster seat elevates your child so that the vehicle seat belt is positioned properly over your child. Booster seats should be used in the rear vehicle seat with a lap and shoulder seat belt system, never a lap belt-only.
A combination seat starts out as a forward-facing seat with a 5-point harness, and then transforms into a
belt-positioning booster seat.
A high back booster is a type of belt-positioning booster seat that includes a back with a head restraint.
A backless booster does not include a back with a head restraint. They should only be used in a vehicle seating position with a built-in headrest.
Why use a Booster Seat?
Because vehicle seat belts are designed to fit an average-sized adult, they do not fit correctly on a child’s smaller body. The purpose of a belt-positioning booster seat is to lift or position your child so that the vehicle seat belt fits across the strongest parts of your child’s body, providing the greatest amount of protection.
A study conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety states that “the lap belt should fit flat across a child’s upper thighs, not across the soft abdomen, which is more likely to be injured in a crash than bony structures like the pelvis.” In the event of a collision, a lap belt that is improperly positioned across your child’s abdomen can cause serious injuries, including injuries to internal organs, that can’t always be diagnosed immediately and can be life-threatening. For children between the ages of 4 – 8, the use of a booster seat can reduce injury rates by 58% over the use of a seat belt alone.
When is your child ready for a Booster?
Booster seats are for older children who have outgrown their forward-facing child seat. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, it is best for children to ride in a seat with a five-point harness for as long as possible, at least to 4 years of age. If your child outgrows his seat before reaching 4 years of age, consider using a seat with a harness approved for higher weights and heights.
Some factors to consider when determining if your child is ready for a booster seat may be:
- Your child reaches the top weight or height allowed for their forward-facing seat
- Your child’s shoulders are above the top harness slots in their forward-facing seat. with a harness. (These limits are listed on the seat and also included in the seat’s user guide.)
- Your child’s ears have reached the top of their forward-facing seat.
- Your child meets the age and size requirements of the booster seat.
- Your child meets the requirements of your state laws regarding booster seat use.
- Your child’s maturity level – if your child is a wiggle worm or sleeps frequently in the vehicle, he may not be ready for a booster seat.
Proper positioning of a Booster Seat:
- The lap belt should be low and tight across the child’s upper thighs, not the soft abdomen.
- The shoulder belt should fit snugly across the child’s mid-chest and shoulder. The vehicle belt should NOT be positioned over the child’s neck, under the child’s arm, or behind the child’s back.
- Either the booster seat or vehicle seat head restraint should be adjusted properly for the child’s height.
How long should your child stay in a Booster Seat?
Requirements for car seat use vary depending on the state in which you reside. BRITAX recommends that you follow the laws of your state as the minimum requirements for restraining your child while traveling. Additionally, BRITAX recommends that you continue to use the child seat system – convertible car seat, youth seat, or booster seat – to the upper limits of its recommended use, or until your child can fit properly in the adult seat belt (see the Safety Belt Fit Test below).
Also, please keep in mind that state law does not always represent best practice. We recommend that you follow the laws of your state as the minimum requirements for restraining your child while traveling.
Do you think your twins are ready to get rid of their Boosters?
For adult seat belt use, the following are additional best practices recommended by BRITAX. To be able to fit an adult seat belt, a child must:
- Be tall enough to sit without slouching,
- Keep his/her back and buttocks against the vehicle seat back,
- Keep his/her knees completely bent over the front edge of the vehicle seat,
- Keep his/her feet flat on the floor,
- Be able to stay comfortably seated this way, AND
- The vehicle seat belt must be positioned correctly across the child’s hips and shoulder/middle of the chest.
Today, we have two BRITAX Booster Seats to give away to one lucky family. These BRITAX belt-positioning booster seats raise the child so that the vehicle’s lap and shoulder belts fit correctly on your child’s hips and shoulder. Belt-positioning booster seats must be used with a vehicle lap and shoulder belt system, NOT a lap-belt only system.
My twinnies have been using the Parkway for well over a year now (they are six) and love them. The especially like the dual cup holders. One for snacks and one for their drink!
The reason why I chose the Parkway SG was because of Britax’s SecureGuard. This just seems like an obvious way to keep them a bit safer. The SexureGuard is an attachment to their safety belt which prevents them from sliding under the lap-belt portion of the safety belt (submarining) during impact, thus minimizing the risk of abdominal injury.
To be entered to win today’s prize, all you need to do is answer this question:
“What is YOUR state’s law regarding booster seats?”
Please reply to this POST below with your answer. One winner will be randomly chosen on Monday.
We will announce the winners on Monday, but please note, all potential winners MUST be a member of Twiniversity; have a valid EMAIL address on file; and HAVE multiples living in their home, right now. Unfortunately, there is no separate prize for Gold Members this week.
Congratulations!!! The winner of the third installment of our Britax giveaway is, Jean Lucas, of Lufkin, TX!!! Jean will receive her choice/color of two car seats from the Britax booster seat collection.