A “belt-positioning booster,” or simply a booster seat, helps to give children the extra height they need to make a vehicle’s seat belt fit properly. Boosters work by propping the child’s seating surface up to match the profile of an adult’s. This allows the vehicle’s seat belt to properly interact with the child’s strong pelvis and shoulder/upper torso. Boosters help to route the lap-portion of the seat belt low over the child’s thighs and pelvis, and keeps it away from the child’s fragile abdomen. Boosters also give the child extra height so that the shoulder-portion of the belt interacts properly with the center of the shoulder, and does not cross the child’s neck.
CHILDREN ARE TWICE AS LIKELY TO SURVIVE A COLLISION WHEN USING A BOOSTER SEAT VS. A SEAT BELT ALONE.
When to Switch from a Booster Seat to a Belt
The Five Step Test
Back against the vehicle seat
Knees bend at edge of seat
Lap belt low on tops of thighs
Shoulder belt between shoulder and neck
Sit properly for the entire ride
Set a good example for your children and wear your seat belt on every trip, no matter how short it may be.
Installing a Booster Seat
CHILDREN UNDER THE AGE OF 13 SHOULD RIDE IN THE BACK SEAT
Buckling in Your Little Buckeye
Your child’s lap belt should sit low on his hips – not across his stomach. The shoulder belt should lie between his shoulder and neck, across the center of the collarbone. A high-back booster will typically have a seat belt guide to route the shoulder belt over your child’s shoulder properly. The back of the booster may be adjustable to accommodate different heights; be sure to adjust yours to fit your child. If your booster seat has arm rests, the shoulder belt will most likely need to be routed under the armrest on the side nearest to the seat belt buckle, but be sure to check your instruction manual to determine the correct routing. The seat belt should lie flat, straight, and not twisted.
Boosters can only be used with a lap and shoulder belt – DO NOT USE A BOOSTER WITH A LAP BELT ONLY.