the booster seat battle: why it’s worth the fight to make your kid ride in a booster

the booster seat battle: why it’s worth the fight to make your kid ride in a booster

Written By

Jessica Harris

It finally happened. Your baby isn’t a baby anymore, he’s a kid. A big kid. He’s too cool for last week’s thrill of building blocks and finger puppets, and he doesn’t need anyone to cut his food anymore. In fact he wants to order off the big person menu, and worst of all, he’s done sitting in a car seat. At least that’s what he thinks.

Not so fast though! No matter how big your big kid thinks he is, or even you think he is, you better be sure he’s bigger than these safety standards. Because this is literally a matter of life or death.

Did you know that the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that kids stay in a booster seat until they reach 4 feet 9 inches in height? Most kids won’t reach that height until somewhere between ages 8-12. I bet you’re thinking that most kids should be done with a booster by age 7-8 right? Well the AAP did a study in 2012 that showed kids between ages 7-8 were four times more likely to suffer death or an incapacitating injury in an accident when they were not sitting in a booster seat. You can read the entire study here.

There are so many amazing resources available online to help you make the smartest decisions on your child’s car seat safety. One of my favorites is The Car Seat Lady. She provides this simple 5-step test for deciding when your child is ready to stop using a booster seat. If the answer is “yes” to all 5 questions, it’s time.

The 5-Step Test

1         Does the child sit all the way back against the auto seat?

2         Do the child’s knees bend comfortably at the edge of the auto seat?

3         Does the belt cross the shoulder between the neck and arm?

4         Is the lap belt as low as possible, touching the thighs?

5         Can the child stay seated like this for the whole trip?