The transition from a car seat with a harness to a big-kid booster seat is a momentous one, and there are a few important factors to remember before you make the switch. Obviously, you’ll want to make sure the seat fits in your car (we can help you with that!), and that your child fits the height and weight requirements, but there’s one more thing: is your child ready to sit correctly in the booster?
Maturity is of the essence because your kid has to be willing and able to follow your instructions. They will need to be able to:
- sit up straight in the seat, no slouching low
- sit with the seat belt positioned properly (and then not mess with the belt position)
- NOT unbuckle their belt until the car is safely parked
- NOT move the shoulder belt behind their body.
The positioning of the seat belt is essential to the functioning of the belt in an accident: if there’s a collision, your body is thrown against the seat belt. This means we want the seat belt sitting over the strongest parts of your body. Let’s start at your tummy: it has no bones protecting it and yet it has oh soooo many vital organs in it. That’s why we want the lap belt making contact with your thighs or hip bones, never your stomach! The shoulder belt should sit across your sternum, another strong, protective part of your body that can withstand a large force (such as the force of your body being held in the car by a seat belt). The shoulder belt is also the only thing responsible for keeping your head/ torso from flying around in an accident which GREATLY reduces neck/ skull/ brain injuries.
Pro Tip: Teach kids to not only buckle themselves in but how to properly position their seat belt using the guides built onto their booster seat. It makes them so proud to have the knowledge and empowerment to do it themselves!
Yes, we know all that info can be scary to think about – but our goal is to empower you with easy-to-follow steps that could save a life one day, but won’t require a ton of time or effort to get right. And as always: if you’re not sure what booster is right for your child, or if your child is ready for a booster, come ask us!