When is a child ready for an adult seat belt?

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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 and 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; and
  • 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.

 

The above is a video from the article “Beyond Booster Seats” by the United States Department of Transportation.

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