Once they reach the maximum height and weight limits to be rear facing, they should then move to a forward facing 5 point harness child restraint. Children need to remain in these as long as possible. There are many child restraints on the market that provide a higher weight and height limit to keep your children in a 5 point harness longer.
Next, they will move into a booster seat with the bare minimum being 4 years old and 40 pounds. A high back booster seat provides better side impact protection than a no back booster. The AAP and NHTSA are also recommending that children stay in a booster seat until they are 8-12 years old, depending on when they pass the 5 step test: 1-The child sits all the way back with the hips and back against the back of the vehicle seat. 2-The child’s legs bend comfortably over the edge of the vehicle seat. 3-The lap belt lays low on the hips, not on the soft tissue of their belly. 4- The shoulder belt lays across the chest and shoulder, not on the neck or arm. 5-The child can remain seated correctly for the entire trip. If you answer no to any of these they need to remain in a booster seat. The 5 step test applies to every vehicle the child will be riding in.
- Read both your vehicle manual and child restraint manual before installing your child restraint.
- There should be no more than 1” of movement of the child restraint (front to back and side to side).
- While rear facing, the harness needs to be AT or BELOW your child’s shoulders.
- While forward facing, the harness needs to be AT or ABOVE your child’s shoulders.
- The chest clip needs to be at armpit level.
- The harness needs to be “snug as a hug.” You should not be able to pinch any slack at the child’s shoulders.
- Never use a child restraint if it has been in a crash.
- Check the expiration date on your child restraint. They DO expire!
- Never buy a used child restraint or accept a seat from someone else unless they are someone you trust with your child’s life.
|Logan-14 months, rear facing in a Graco MyRide 65|
|Evan-almost 4, extended rear facing in a Safety First Complete Air 65. Bent legs are not an issue, he has never complained about being uncomfortable.|
|Matthew- almost 6 and extended harnessed in a Britax Frontier 85.|