Jennifer Ryan: Hi! I am Jennifer Ryan with AAA, and today we will talk about when your child is ready to move out of a booster seat and into a seat belt. Seat belts are designed for adults, so it is important that parents do a visual test to determine when a child can be safely moved from a booster seat into only a lap and shoulder belt.
A few things you will need to check for. First, does the child sit all the way back against the vehicle seat? Second, do the child's knees bend comfortably at the edge of the vehicle seat? Third, does the belt cross the shoulder between the neck and the arm? And fourth, is the lap belt as low as possible touching the thighs.
If you answer no to any of these questions, the child needs to be in a booster seat to ride safely in the vehicle. It is also important to keep in mind that children are safest in the back seat until they reach age 13. Never let a child put the shoulder belt portion of the seat belt behind their back. This could allow for what is called Jackknifes, which is when their torso bends too far causing spinal injury or submarines, which is when the child slips out from under the seat belt.
Always set a good example for your child and make sure you buckle up on every trip.
If you have questions about the fit of your child in the seat belt, you may contact a certified child passenger safety technician or visit sites such as seatcheck.
org or nhtsa.
gov for more information.