Hands full, you make your way to your car in the blistering sun, throw all of your belongings inside and get it started for AC…then fumble around in the backseat strapping your child into their carseat. Whew…by the time you sit down you’re already exhausted.
What you wouldn’t give for your child to be able to buckle themselves in so you could spend a little more time soaking up that AC. The good news is, you don’t have to give up anything but a little bit of your time to read these 3 signs your child is ready for a booster seat.
1. THEY’RE OF AGE
Your child shouldn’t be in a booster seat until they are at LEAST 5 years old, but often children don’t meet all requirements until they are closer to 7. Anytime after 5 is acceptable to transition into a booster seat, as long as your child also meets the next two requirements.
If you have a 3 or 4 year old that meets these requirements, it is highly recommended that you consider replacing their current seat with a seat that has a higher height and weight limit, rather than transitioning to a booster seat. There are car seats that can be forward facing up to 65 pounds.
2. THEY EXCEED THE HEIGHT/WEIGHT LIMIT
If your child has exceeded the height or weight limit of their forward facing car seat, it’s definitely time to make a change. It can be as dangerous to switch your child over to a booster seat too late, as it is too soon. Your child should weigh no less than 40 pounds before switching to a booster seat, and no more than 65 pounds.
It’s important to check your car seats manual to find out the exact height and age restrictions, as they can vary. Your child is too tall for their carseat if:
- Their shoulders are above the top harness slots
- The top of their ears reach the top of the seat
3. THEY SHOW MATURITY IN THE VEHICLE
If your child just barely met the requirements above, don’t pull out the booster seat just yet. There’s still one more thing to consider…Your child’s maturity level. What does maturity have to do with a booster seat? A lot actually. Your child needs to be able to:
- Sit up straight and tall
- Leave their seat belt buckled
- Not try to grab things from the floorboard
- Not try to slip out from under their seatbelt
IF YOUR CHILD SHOWS ALL THREE SIGNS OF BEING READY FOR A BOOSTER SEAT:
Here’s Some Tips About Your New Booster Seat
- Make sure the lap strap is snug against your child’s upper thighs
- The shoulder strap should come across the middle of the chest and be off of the neck
- Booster seats MUST be in a seat with a shoulder and lap belt
- Booster seats do not typically attach to the seat of the car
- High back booster seats are safest for vehicles without headrests, or low back seats
- Backless booster seats are safe for vehicles with headrests and high back seats