Many parents may think their children do not need a booster seat once they are in elementary school. The proper seat can help protect a child in a car accident, so parents should make sure they do not switch their children to a seat belt too early.

Because car manufacturers design seat belts for adult passengers, young children need boosters seats to be safe in the backseat. According to the American Automobile Association, children who weigh between 40 and 65 pounds usually need a booster seat. This seat elevates children so the seat belt crosses their bodies in the right places.

Requirements for seat belts

Many parents may think their child no longer needs the booster seat once he or she is out of preschool. Consumer Reports says that children are not ready to use seat belts without the booster seat until they are 4 feet 9 inches tall. This means that some children should stay in a booster seat until they are between the ages of 8 and 12.

Signs a child needs a booster seat

Before parents transition their child from a booster seat to a seat belt, they should run through a checklist. Parents should place their child in the seat to see where the child’s knees bend. If a child’s knees bend before the edge of the seat, a child is still too short to use a seat belt. Parents should also buckle their child in to see where the seat belt sits. A lap belt needs to cross the upper thighs. If the lap belt sits on the child’s belly, the child should not leave a booster seat.

Children may incur injuries in a car accident if they are in the wrong seat. If a child is still too short for a seat belt, parents should keep their child in a booster seat.

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