Booster Seats: Is My Child Ready?

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I interviewed Kapi’olani Medical Center’s Injury Prevention Specialist, Lisa Dau, about booster seats today. When to move into one, how to install the different types into your car, how to secure your child properly and when it’s time to move out of the booster.


When is my child ready for a booster seat?

Your child is ready to move into a booster seat when they outgrow the harness systems of other car seats. You really want to maximize the harness system because that’s the safest way to travel. Every time we move to the next level, we can decrease their safety so stay in the harness system as long as possible. By law, children cannot be in a booster seat until they are at least 4 years of age. But, we have a lot of 4-year-olds that really should still be in a harness system. A smaller child is going to have a harder time fitting with the seat belt on a booster seat. That 4-year-old may not yet be ready for an unharnessed system. Maximizing the height and weight limit of the car seat is the most important recommendation. We want to make sure that when children are sitting in the booster seat that they are keeping that seat belt on them.
What are the different types of booster seats?

There are high back booster seats and backless booster seats. The high back booster has guides for the lap belt and the shoulder belt. It also has wings so that if the child falls asleep they can lean on something and provides side impact protection. The backless booster has guides for the lap, and will have a guide for the shoulder but it comes separately. For a child who may fall asleep a lot, and lean their head on the window, that could be a safety hazard. We want them to be in position all the time with the seat belt fit properly and not out of position. Another thing with the backless booster we must remember we have to have head restraints. They have to have a head rest behind them so they have protection in case of whiplash. If there were no head rest or head restraint we would want to keep our child in a high back booster.

More Car Seat Blogs (Vlogs) — List will be updated as I complete each video in the series


Infant Car Seats: Proper Installation 

Infant Car Seats: Attaching Your Infant Correctly 

Rear-Facing Convertible Car Seats: Attaching Your Toddler Correctly

Rear-Facing Convertible Car Seats: Installing Them Properly

Car Seat Safety Series: Where to get a FREE Car Seat Check Up

Booster Seats: How To Install A Backless Booster Seat Properly





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