There are a lot of people asking lately if and when they can safely move their little one out of their convertible car seat and into a booster seat (using the car’s lap belt instead of a 5-point harness). It’s a hard question to answer because it really is one big gray area. As long as your child is still within the maximum weight and height limits for their convertible car seat, then my suggestion would be to keep them in that 5 point harness as long as possible. I mean, honestly, we’d all be safer in a 5 point harness! But if you think that it is time to move your little one into a booster seat, then these are the big guidelines to keep in mind:
- Your child should be AT LEAST 4 years old
- Your child should be AT LEAST 40 pounds
- Your child should be mature enough to sit properly in the booster seat
If your little guy or gal has reached the height limit for their convertible car seat, and can no longer safely ride in that seat, then you should think long and hard about how your child will act with their new-found freedom if you take the harness away. If your kiddo is likely to slouch down in his seat, reach down for a toy that fell, try to fight with his sister, or try to unbuckle himself, then it may be safer for him to move to a higher-back booster seat. Seats like the Britax Frontier 90 Clicktight Booster Seat or some of the Diono car seats start with a 5-point harness that can be removed down the line. Booster seats, like the Clek Oobr or the Clek Olli, are all about proper positioning of the vehicle lap belt. If your child is not quite ready to sit still, with his back up against the vehicle seat, then that lap belt is not going to be as effective as it needs to be to protect your child.
Need some guidance? Come visit me at Magic Beans Norwell, or go to any of our stores, and we will be happy to help you make your decision to make the move to a booster seat or not! We have floor models that you can take to your car or sit your child in. It’s a big decision to move your child into a booster, and we are always here to help you in any way that we can!