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Beyond Booster Seats: Seat Belts

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.


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

Beyond Boosters
Instructional Video

  • 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.

A Simple Fit for Safety: Shoulder, Lap, in the Back


The transition to a seat belt gives you another opportunity to teach your child about safety. The first message is simple: Even though your child is now the right size to fit a seat belt, the safest place to ride in the car is still in the back seat -- buckled up.


As a parent, you influence your kids by modeling safe driving practices, including buckling up every time you get in the car. Teach your family that safety is the responsibility of all passengers as well as the driver.