How do you know when your child is ready to ride in the car without a booster seat ?
Firstly, we need to understand what the purpose of a booster seat is.
A booster seat, like the BubbleBum Travel Booster Seat, is used to position the vehicle seat belt correctly on the child’s body. This means that the lap belt sits across the strongest, bony portion of the child’s pelvis, and that the shoulder belt is positioned across the child’s shoulder and chest. A booster seat also ‘boosts’ the child up to allow the legs to fold over the vehicle seat edge. With no booster seat, the child will be inclined to push forward on the seat to get comfortable. This is called ‘slouching’. Slouching introduces slack into the belt path which reduces the effectiveness of the seatbelt in a crash.
This optimal seat belt fit is vital in protecting the child in the event of a crash. It ensures that the lap belt doesn’t ride up into the soft tissue of the child’s abdomen, and that the shoulder belt is kept well away from the face and neck. Incorrect belt fit can cause life threatening injuries.
If you are unsure whether your child is ready to use the vehicle seat belt alone, there are 5 simple tests you can complete. The child must pass ALL 5 steps before being ready to ditch the booster seat.
Test 1- Does the child’s lower back sit flat against the back of the vehicle seat?
Test 2- Do the child’s knees fold comfortably over the edge of the seat?
Test 3- Does the lap belt sit across the bony portion of the child’s pelvis, flat and high up across the top of the thighs and away from the tummy?
Test 4- Does the shoulder belt sit comfortably between the outer edge of the child’s shoulder and the base of their neck?
Test 5- Can the child remain in this position without slouching, and will they be able to refrain from moving / playing with the seat belt?