The Do’s and Dont’s of a Booster Car Seat

Elvis Elvis

Boy things have really changed since I was a kid in the 70′s. Back then if someone asked you about the seat belt that was in your car, you would look at them as if they were speaking a foreign language. Today, however, there is much discussion on car safety…especially for children.

Seat belts that are in cars today are designed to protect adults and not our children. That is why we need car seats and booster seats.

Booster seats are designed to “boost” your child up so he/she can be at the proper height for the seat belt to work properly. If your child was in an accident and not in a booster seat, but buckled up, he/she could sustain serious injuries. As a matter of fact, a seat belt can actually cause internal injuries as well as injuries to the neck, head and back.

This is one of the reasons that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration now recommends that all little ones that have outgrown their toddler car seats, ride in a booster seat until they are 8 years old AND 4 feet 9 inches tall. And I plan on following their recommendation.

Like infant car seats and toddler car seats, all booster car seats sold in the US meet government standards. So the best booster car seat is the one that best fit your child, your convenience, and your pocketbook. The main thing to remember is:

The Dos and Donts of a Booster Car Seat

Booster Seats Are the Safest When it is Used Correctly Everyday!

Be consistent! PLEASE do not fall prey to “The Just This One Time Syndrome” because this will lead to inconsistency. And unfortunately the “one time” that you do not put your little one in their booster seat might just be the time (God forbid) that you are in an accident. So please, always put your child in their booster car seat so they will be safe while riding in a car. There are 2 types of booster seats: high back or backless. I like high back booster seats because it gives your little one more back and neck support. However, some backless seats fit better with deeply contoured seats, which allow your child to sit further back in the seat.

Whichever style you choose, just remember the shoulder seat belt should cross over the middle part of your child’s chest and not cut into their neck. It should also lay smooth over the body and not have spaces in between the body and seat belt. The lap belt should lie over the hips (not the stomach) and have a snug fit.

Some of the common mistakes that parents make when using a booster seat are:

  • Not putting their child in their booster seat EVERYTIME while they are riding in a car.
  • Not installing the booster seat correctly.
  • Putting their little one into a booster seat TOO SOON.
  • Moving their child out of a booster seat TOO SOON.
  • Using a used booster car seat.

    Here are also some tips to help you find the best booster seat for you and your little one.

  • If your child weighs less than 40 lbs. consider a combination car seat.
  • If you are considering a high-back booster, make sure it has clips at several heights to accommodate your child’s growth.
  • If you are considering a backless booster, make sure it has a separate belt-positioning clip.
  • Make sure you can return the booster seat if it does not work well in your car.