Jennifer Ryan: Hi! I am Jennifer Ryan with AAA, and today we will be talking about belt positioning booster seats for your child. There are backless and high back booster seats available on the market. Some of these seats come in the form of a combination seat which can be used with a harness and then used as a belt positioning booster seat when the child outgrows the harness.
Once a child has outgrown the harnesses of the forward-facing car seat, they are then ready for booster seat. A booster seat is used to help position a child so the seat belt fits them properly. Proper fit of a child in a booster seat means that the lap belt should fit flat across the child's upper thighs, not across the soft abdomen, which is more likely to be injured in a crash than bony structures like the pelvis.
A shoulder belt should cross snugly over the middle of the child's shoulder, so that the belt is in position to provide effective protection in a crash.
The new recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics states that children should remain in a booster seat until they are 4'9" tall, which would typically be between the ages of 8 and 12. The safest place for all children under 13 is in the rear seat of the vehicle.
Two important things to note: First, booster seats cannot be used without a lap and shoulder belt. Second, when the child is not in the car, it is important to buckle the booster seat with the seat belt, so it does not become a projectile in the vehicle.
Parents with questions about the fit of their child in a booster seat can contact a certified child passenger safety technician. Websites such as seatcheck.
org can help you locate a fitting station near you.