Car Safety for Kids Ages 3 to 12
Before You Get Rid of that Booster Seat…
New guidelines released in March of 2011 from the American Academy of Pediatrics suggest that parents keep their children ages 3-12 in height and weight-appropriate restraints for longer.
The new recommendation is to keep kids in booster seats until they are 4 feet 9 inches tall, which usually occurs between ages 8 and 12.
Children three and up who have transitioned from a rear-facing car seat to a forward-facing model should stay in that type of seat and use the harness restraint until he or she outgrows the height and weight limits for the seat.
Once a child surpasses the size range for these seats (and this age can vary greatly depending on a child’s growth rate and physical size), they should ride in a booster seat which allows for the proper positioning of the seat belt. The lap belt should fit firmly over the lower pelvis or upper thighs and the shoulder harness should fit across the middle of the chest, not up around the neck.
In essence, be more in tune with your child’s physical size and how his or her body would respond to the impact of a crash in the restraints they ride in, rather than using age as a guide for when to make seat and restraint changes. Also, the AAP recommends that all children under the age of 13 ride in the back seat.
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