You’ve probably heard that your child should stay in a booster seat until they are 8 to 12 years old. But did you know that most children will not fit in the adult seat belt alone until 10 to 12 years? That means it is important for kids to stay in their booster seats longer than many parents realize.
It’s important to ensure that children are properly restrained while riding in a vehicle. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has recommendations for all age groups.
Rear-Facing Car Seat
Rear-facing car seats are important for young children because they allow you to keep your child in the seat longer and can reduce their risk of injury. Rear-facing seats are ideal for infants and children up to three years old. Infants of up to 12 months should always be placed in infant seats under different types. Once your child outgrows the rear-facing seat, you can move on to the other category of child safety seats, the forward-facing seat.
Forward-Facing Car Seat
Forward-facing seats are optimal for children ages 4 to 7 years; these seats are the best way to protect your child in the car with a harness and tether until they reach their height or weight limit. Once you know it’s time for them to move up into a booster seat, make sure that this happens from behind the wheel of our vehicle, not while riding shotgun.
All children whose weight or height exceeds the forward-facing limit for their car safety seat should use a belt-positioning booster until they are 8 to 12 years old. Keep your child in this type of seat until they are big enough that it will no longer fit, typically when they reach about 4 feet tall without needing any extra support from another person sitting beside him on either side (as long as both front seat occupants have shoulder restraints).
Once your child has outgrown safety seats, you can move them to normal seats and make them safe by wearing seat belts.
Learn more about car seats and how they are important for children’s safety at our blog page.
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