When is it safe for my child to be out of a booster seat?
When your child reaches 4 feet 9 inches and 80 to 100 pounds, use the Safety Belt Fit Test to determine if the child is big enough to use the adult seat belt without a booster. Use the Safety Belt Fit Test on every child under 13.
The Safety Belt Fit Test
- Have your child sit in a 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 soft part of the stomach, the child must stay in a booster seat.
- Look at the shoulder belt. Does it lay on the collarbone and shoulder? If yes, go on. If it is 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.
Traveling by motor vehicle is what most people do every single day and is the primary means of transportation in the United States. While it has advantages, deaths and injuries resulting from motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for people of every age from 3 through 34 (based on 2006 data).
Using a seatbelt is the best defense against death or injury in a motor vehicle crash, which can happen at any time and anywhere. Unfortunately, seatbelts alone do not adequately protect our youngest passengers. Most parents already know this and are doing a great job of placing their youngest children in car seats. Unfortunately, as children grow fewer are being properly buckled in a booster seat. The 2009 National Survey of the Use of Booster Seats (NSUBS), found that while 96% of 1- to 3-year-olds were restrained in a child car seat, only 41% of 4- to 7-year-old children were restrained in a booster seat. There is still much work to be done to protect our children from the greatest threat to their lives.
Children Should Be in a Booster Seat Until 4'9"