Being a parent often causes a feeling of always being on your toes. Once you adjust to one stage, your child will quickly outgrow it and enter into a new and unknown stage of life. Car seats are no exception. After the age of two, your child will outgrow their rear facing car seat and transition to a forward-facing style seat. Once your child has sized out of their forward-facing seat, they will be ready to try a booster style car seat. Below, we’re sharing everything you need to know about transitioning your child to a booster seat and keeping them safe in the car.
When Are Children Ready for a Booster Seat?
The time when your child is ready for a booster style car seat depends on their size but this transition can occur anytime between the ages of 4 and 6. Also, car seat recommendations may vary depending on what state you live in. Typically, it is recommended that children remain in some type of restraint system until they are 57 inches tall. So if your child has outgrown their car seat but they haven’t yet reached this height, you’ll likely want to transition them into a booster seat.
Safety Tips for Booster Seats
When it comes time to transition your child from their front-facing car seat to their booster seat, you’ll want to make sure you’re following some important steps to keep them safe. Here are some tips to help ensure that your child remains safe in their booster seat at all times.
1. Ensure proper installation
Always pay attention to the user manual when installing your child’s booster seat and double check that you’ve correctly followed the instructions. Having the booster seat installed properly is the easiest way to ensure that your child remains safe while riding in their booster seat. If you’re unsure that you’ve done something correctly, reference the manual or have a friend or family member double check for you.
2. Register booster seat and watch out for recalls
It is very important that you register your booster seat so that you can be notified if any recalls come up later on. Companies that make safety items like car seats for children are responsible for keeping consumers and their families safe. Therefore, if a defect is later identified they have to notify buyers of the car seat. You’ll notice that your car seat will come with a card on which you can provide your contact information and mail it to the manufacturer. It is important that you provide this information so that the company has a way of contacting you in the event of a recall.
3. Make sure to position the seat belt properly
When children are strapped into their booster seats, you need to make sure that the seat belt is properly positioned. You’ll want to make sure that the lap belt fits snugly across your child’s upper thighs, rather than crossing over the stomach. There are different styles of booster seats so be sure to check the manual to determine what is recommended for the specific booster seat that you choose for your child.
Types of Booster Seats
There are many different types of booster seat car seats out there, so always be sure to read the instruction manual of the one that you choose to purchase. Below, we’re offering some general tips and guidelines for specific types of booster seats.
1. High-back booster seat
High-back booster seats provide head and neck support and are designed to boost your child’s height so that the seat belt will fit them properly. High-back booster seats should remain secured into the vehicle at all times (even when not in use). Unsecured booster seats could pose a safety risk for other passengers in the event of an accident.
2. Backless booster seat
Backless booster seats simply boost your child’s height without offering any back support. This type of booster seat is ideal for kids who are very close to being big enough for the regular seat but just need an extra lift to get the lap belt to fit properly. These booster seats are held in place by your child’s weight and by the lap and shoulder belt of your vehicle.
Additional Car Seat Safety Tips
Keeping young children safe in the car doesn’t have to be a complicated process. Although car accidents are one of the most common forms of accidental injury, by simply following some safety tips you can ensure that you’re doing everything in your power to keep your children safe.
1. Drive responsibly
You can’t control how other people drive but you can control your own driving habits and responses to the decisions of others. By always remaining calm and aware while behind the wheel, you can drive defensively and proactively. Seeing others drive poorly is just an unavoidable part of life so it’s wise to learn how to handle these situations calmly because allowing yourself to get upset will just distract you from the road and make a car accident more likely.
2. Always follow car seat recommendations
Be sure to stay aware of the current car seat recommendations for your child’s weight, height, and age. Pay attention to the instruction manual of the car seat that your child is using and know when it is time to move them up to the next size. Also check the user manual to see if there is an expiration date for your child’s car seat, especially if they’re using a second-hand car seat or one that has been passed down from an older sibling.
One of the easiest ways to keep your child safe is to ensure that you are keeping them safe while in the car. The modern-day family spends plenty of time on the road and this is one of the most common times when injuries occur. Always drive responsibly and pay attention to your current car seat recommendations to help ensure that your child will be protected in the event of an accident.