At 4 years of age, 95cm or at a minimum of 15kg, your child is ready to ride in the booster. They are now strong enough to do away with the 5 point harness and can use a seat belt. The problem is that seat belts are designed to keep adults of 1.5m or taller safe – not children of 4. The 15kg minimum weight is to accommodate our tall skinny kids. Boosters cover groups 2 and 3.
The booster seat is designed to make a seat belt fit your child Booster seats raise your child so that they can see out of the window and bring the seat belt down to their shoulder height. The shoulder belt must pass over the middle of their shoulder, away from the neck and across the chest. The lap belt must go over the lap and hips – never across the tummy. Imagine the torso as a rectangle. The shoulder belt crosses the torse to devide it into 2 equal triangles. The upper body is balanced within the restraint and this will increase safety during a crash.
1. Booster seats can only be used with a 3 point seat belt and not a lap belt only. With a lap belt only there is no upper body support and your child will suffer abdominal, neck and back injuries in a crash.
2. Booster seats are not installed in your vehicle and they do not have a harness as it uses the seat belt to keep the child and the seat in position.
3. A high back belt adjusting booster seat must be used till your child is at least 6, 25kg or 115cm tall, but preferably till they are tall enough to use the seat belt alone. Booster cushions can be used from 6 years or 22kg provided that they have outgrown the full back booster.
4. The upper weight limit for a booster seat is 36kg. You can use the booster seat beyond that weight as the seat belt is designed to handle much more than that in adults. 36kg is the minimum your child must weigh before the seat can be used effectively.
5. The back of a good booster adjusts up as your child grows. Make sure the seat belt sits squarely in the middle of their shoulder or at the very least, slightly above.
6. Good side impact protection is a must. Side impact protection provides a soft landing for the head during a crash and it minimises neck movement during a side impact crash and spin. It also comes in handy when your little one catches a nap in the booster seat.
7. Red markings will show where the seat belt must go.
8. Booster seats are only forward facing.
9. Booster seats do not have internal harnesses as it uses the seat blet to keep your child safe.
You are ready to use a seat belt only when you pass the 5 point test:
- Can you sit with your back against the back of the vehicle seat?
- Do your legs bend comfortably over the edge of the seat?
- Does the seat belt sit comfortably on the middle of your shoulder?
- Does the lap belt fit low over the top of your legs?
- Can you sit like this for the whole trip?
If you can say yes to all of these question, you are ready for the seat belt only. Yay!!