car seats

Seat Belts

When is a child ready for the adult seat belt? The decision point for transitioning your child out of a booster seat and into a seat belt usually comes when the child is between 8 to 12 years old: Keep your children in booster seats until they outgrow the size limits of the booster seats or are big enough to fit properly in seat belts.

Fitting child correctly in a seat belt:

For a child to properly fit a seat belt, your child must:

  • Be tall enough to sit without slouching
  • Be able to keep his or her back against the vehicle seat
  • Be able to keep his or her knees naturally bent over the edge of the vehicle seat
  • Be able to keep his or her feet flat on the floor

Additionally:

  • The lap belt must lie snugly across the upper thighs, not the stomach
  • The shoulder belt should lie snug across the shoulder and chest, and not cross the neck or face
  • Never let a child put the shoulder belt under the arm or behind the backs, because it could cause severe injuries in a crash
  • Keep your child in the back seat because it is safer there

Always check belt fit on the child in every vehicle. A booster seat may be needed in some vehicles and not in others. If the seat belt does not fit properly the child should continue to use a booster seat.