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Once your child is beyond toddler car seat/convertible car seat weight & height limit, your child will not yet ready to use regular seat belt. At this age, using baby car seat will be over limit and will not give protection. While using regular seat belt will be over sized for your child, the lap will hit the stomach and the shoulder belt would stuck in the neck or loose the grip. Therefore your child is need booster car seat which specially designed for their age. But before buy one, you must understand booster seats requirements and understand what you really looking for.
Booster car seat is a transitional seat from baby car seat to regular car seat belt. You should use this car seat after your baby weight beyond approximately 40 pounds up to 80 pounds, or from age 4 to 8 years old (sometimes 12 years old), and your child may not leave this booster seat before reach height 4 feet 9 inch. At that height, the regular car seat begin to fit your baby body and able to give best protection.
Understanding Booster Car Seat
There are two types of booster car seat, one is backless booster seat and the other is high back booster seat. Backless booster seat is small and easily portable. It use your own seat belt to protect your child and simply lift the child up to a height that is fit to the seat belt. While a high back car seat is resemble traditional car seats and often feature a 5 point harness. This high back car seat consider to be safest type but they are large and bulky, you must install it semi-permanently so you will not need to move it all the time. There also combination booster car seat which is high back booster seat with detachable backrest and armrest, enable you to convert to backless car seat once your child outgrows for high back car seat.
Must Consider Before Buy Booster Car Seat
You must consider several things before you start buy a booster seat so that your choice would be the best suited with your requirements :
- From the features, high back booster car seat gives more protection than the backless booster seat
- If your rear seat has a low back, you must choose a high back booster seat, it will provide your child with head and neck support in case of a rear collision
- If your cars rear seat seats are high enough to support the head and neck and has a shoulder and lap belt, you might choose a backless booster.
- High back booster seat is the safest but hard to move from one to another, therefore I recommend to have one dedicated position for your booster seat (semi-permanent)
- You must prepare to buy this before your child outgrow the limit of convertible or toddler car seat.
- The price vary from $20 to $ 200, choose not too cheap which might give your infant less protection, not too expensive which might have less important features. Backless booster is cheaper than high back car seat.
- When you use it, ensure the lap belt lie low and snug across your child’s upper legs, not the stomach. The shoulder belt should cross in the middle of your child’s chest, not in the neck and not easily detached.
- Make sure the belt is hard for the child to unbuckle but still easy for parents, since child sometimes feel uncomforted and want to open the belt.