Booster Car Seat Myths Debunked

- June 5, 2017

Caregiver knowledge and state laws on child passenger safety have evolved slowly. However more parents and guardians now realize that kids need to ride in booster car seats for much longer than anticipated.  There are numerous oppositions to proper booster use and we would like to put a rest to some of these myths.

#1: I can move my child to a booster when they reach the height and weight requirements of the booster seat.

FALSE! Your kid may meet the height and weight requirement for a booster but at the age of 3, he is just not ready. Just because your child meets the booster seat’s height and weight limits, doesn’t mean they’re ready to use one.

Your child should be at least 5 years old. This would mean that they are also mature enough to always sit calmly. Some parents will transition their children into  a booster seat by driving for short distances in a booster seat at 5 years old. Most kids will need to still use convertible car seat till they reach about 6 or 7 years of age.

Despite what state law says, check to see how well the seat belt fits your baby.

#2 : State laws say itโ€™s OK for my kid to ride in a car without a booster seat at age 8 so it must be safe.

FALSE! State laws will vary greatly. Some states will let a child ride without a booster car seat at 5 years while other states insist that a 10 year old is not tall enough to ride without a booster seat .

Children will require a booster seat until the ages of 10 to 12 and they must also pass the 5 step test.  Kids under 10 are not ready to ride without a booster seat because their bones are not strong enough to handle the force of a crash.

#3 : My toddler is too big to use a booster car seat.

The 5-step booster car seat test

FALSE! Even big kids can still use a booster until they pass the 5 step test. There are so many plenty of seats available for big kids, but these kids might find a high 0back booster to be more comfortable.

#4 : High back booster car seats are safer than a backless booster car seats.

FALSE! There are no clear safety advantages to having a high back booster in the frontal crash tests. You may need a high back booster or a harness  if :

  • Your child slumps when sleeping
  • Your child is unable to sit properly in a backless booster.
  • Your child does not fit the shoulder belt.

Additionally, some high back boosters need the head rest behind them for support. Please read your manual and check what yours needs.

#5 : I do not need a head rest if I am using a high back booster.

FALSE! A high back booster may be necessary for cars with low back seats. Not all of them can be used safely without a head support. Some car seat manufacturers (like Diono and Dorel) will need head support for their car high back and backless sears.

As always, ensure you read your booster car seat manual to know exactly what to do and what not to do for your seat.

#6: I cannot use lower anchors with my booster seat.

FALSE! Most boosters will come with an added feature of a lower anchor. Many combination seats continue to use the lower anchors when they are turned into a booster.

The lower anchors remove the need to fasten the booster when it is not being used so that it does not become a projectile in the event of a crash. There are no weight limitations with a booster that uses lower anchors. This is because the seat belt does all the difficult work of restraining the child during impact.

One more benefit of a booster with lower anchors is that they fasten the seat in place thus making it easier for some kids to buckle themselves in.

#7 : You do not need to replace a booster after a crash.

FALSE! Only in instances where the manufacturer has clearly adhered to the NHTSA re-use guidelines, all  car seats should be replaced after a crash. A booster car seat that has been in an accident may not be able to protect your child against the impact of a crash.

Many boosters require replacement even after minor crashes

#8 : Short adults also need boosters.

FALSE! Short adults have adult bones. This means your iliac crest has formed adequately and is able to keep your lap belt down on your pelvis well.

Always remember to wear your car’s belt the right way. Ensure it’s tight and is placed low against your lap and across your shoulder.


We hope that The Car Seat Nerd has answered all your questions about booster car seats ๐Ÿ™‚


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