Why Use a Booster Seat Instead of an Adult Safety Belt?
In Illinois, by law children who have outgrown their child safety seat must
be properly restrained in a booster seat until they are at least 8 years
old. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends booster seat use until
the adult belt fits properly – which could be as old as 12 years for some
- Safety belts are designed for small adults who
are at least 80 pounds and 4 feet 9 inches tall. Until age
eight, most children
have not developed strong hipbones, and their legs and body
are too short for the adult safety belt to fit correctly.
- A belt that rides up on the tummy could cause serious internal
injuries to vital organs. Many young children do not sit still
or straight enough to keep lap belts low across their
thighs or the strong hip bones.
- Booster seats are comfortable for children because they allow
their legs to bend normally and help them sit up straighter
so the adult safety belt fits. Booster seats also allow kids
to see out the window better.
Using A Belt-Positioning Booster Seat Correctly
- Place the booster seat flat on the vehicle seat.
- Sit the child on the booster seat, place the lap and shoulder belt over the
child and buckle the safety belt.
- Adjust the lap belt so it lies snugly across child’s upper thighs, not across the tummy. Adjust the shoulder belt and thread through shoulder belt positioned (if available) so that shoulder belt lays snuggly across the center of the child's shoulder. Check safety belt fit often.
- Buckle the booster seat in even when the child is not in it. A loose booster
seat can injure others in a crash.
VS. Highback Booster Seats
| Backless belt–positioning booster seats
boost your child up so the vehicle safety belt fits better. This booster
seat is used with the vehicle’s combination lap and shoulder safety belt,
never with a lap-only safety belt. It should only be used in vehicles with
head restraints that are tall enough to protect the child’s head and neck.
The head restraint must be at least as tall as the top of the child’s ears.
|| High back belt–positioning booster seats
also boost your child up so the vehicle
safety belt fits better. It provides head and neck support for your child if
your vehicle seat back does not have a head restraint. It must be used with
the vehicle’s combination lap and shoulder safety belt, never with a
lap-only safety belt.
High back belt-positioning booster seats give children head protection
if your vehicle does not have head restraints. If your vehicle has head restraints,
a backless belt-positioning booster seat will work and make the safety belt
fit properly. Make sure your vehicle's head restraints cover at least the
top of your child's ears if you are using a backless belt-positioning booster
If the vehicle has only lap belts,
it is safer for a child to use a lap only safety belt with no booster
seat than to use a lap only safety belt with a booster seat. Be sure to
keep the lap only safety belt low and snug across the thighs. If the lap
only safety belt rides up on the stomach, it could cause serious
injuries in a crash. Check
with your vehicle manufacturer to have shoulder belts installed in your
Belt-positioning booster seats are the best solution for children who
don't fit the adult safety belt regardless of your child's age.
seats MUST be used in combination with lap and shoulder
safety belts. The back seat is the SAFEST place in the vehicle to
install child safety seats.
The shoulder belt should never be placed behind a child’s back or under
the arm. If this is done, your child could be seriously injured or
killed in a crash.
advertised to improve belt fit for older children and adults are presently
not covered by government safety standards. These products are not
recommended. They may help with shoulder belt comfort, but may put too much
slack in the shoulder belt or cause the lap belt to ride up onto the child’s