Big Kids (ages 5-13)
Your child is ready for a booster seat if they have outgrown the height and weight limit for their five-point harness convertible or combination seat, and if they weigh more than 40 pounds.
Why booster seats are so important
Booster seats help position your child so the lap/shoulder seat belt fits them correctly. With a booster seat, the lap belt fits over their hips and touches the top of their legs, rather than across their tummy. The shoulder belt is centered on the shoulder and chest. It should not rest along their neck, or be positioned on their upper arm.
A backless booster can be used if the seats of your vehicle are high enough to support your child’s head during a crash. Backless boosters are okay to use if your child’s head does not go above the seat.
A high-back booster is needed if the seats of your vehicle are not high enough to support a child’s head, or if your vehicle does not have head restraints (headrests).
Arizona Law: Effective August 2, 2012, Arizona passed a booster seat law. Children under 8 and 4’9” are required to be secured in a child restraint. Parents can be fined up to $176.00.
Tucson Medical Center’s “Boost Your Booty” program is sponsored by the TMC Foundation. Booster seats for children over 5 years old and more than 40 pounds are free. Click here for more information.
Protect your child as they ride! The back seat is the safest spot for children ages 13 and under. Front air bags are deployed at 200 miles an hour, and can hurt a child.
When is my child ready to ride without a booster seat?
Here’s a quick and easy test you can do with your child to see if they’re ready to use the vehicle’s lap and shoulder belt without a booster seat. Keep in mind seat belts do not usually fit kids safely until they are 4’9” tall, weigh about 80 pounds and are about 8-12 years old.
- Have your child sit in the back seat with their bottom and back against the vehicle’s seat back. Do the child’s knees bend at the seat’s edge? If yes, go on. If not, the child must stay in a booster seat.
- Buckle the seat belt. Does the lap belt stay low on the hips? If yes, go on. If it rests on the stomach, the child must stay in a booster seat.
- Look at the shoulder belt. Does it rest on the collarbone and shoulder? If yes, go on. If it’s on the face or neck, the child must remain in a booster seat. *Never put the shoulder belt under the child’s arm or behind the child’s back. Do not allow children to play with the shoulder portion of a seat belt. Treat it like any cord.
- Can the child maintain the correct seating position with the shoulder belt on the shoulder and the lap belt low across the hips? If yes, the child has passed the Safety Belt Fit Test. If no, the child should return to a booster seat and re-test in a month.
Watch the video below that demostrates proper seat belt positioning using a booster seat.
Certified child passenger safety technicians are also available to help you. Click here for more information.
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