The best time to transition your child from a booster seat to an adult seat belt is when your child reaches 4 feet 9 inches, and is between the ages of 8 and 12

When Your Child Should Transition From a Booster Seat to a Seat Belt

Andrew Kim
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Personal Injury, Car Accidents, Motorcycle Accidents, Wrongful Death and Catastrofic Injuries Attorney posted this article about car seat safety for children from infancy to school aged.  In their article, they stress that children should not transition from booster seats to regular seat belts until the adult seat belt fits correctly, which is usually when the child reaches a height of 4 feet 9 inches and is between the ages of 8 and 12 years old.  When the child reaches the size requirements to use an adult seat belt, they should always use both lap and shoulder seat belts for the safest ride.

Using a Seat Belt:
  • The shoulder belt should lie across the middle of the chest and shoulder, not the neck or throat.
  • The lap belt should be low and snug across the upper thighs and not the stomach/belly area.
  • Your child should be tall enough to sit against the seat back of your vehicle, knees bent and not slouching.  They should be able to stay in this position comfortably through the whole ride.
Keep in Mind:
  • Do not allow your child to tuck the shoulder belt under their arm or behind their back.  This adds extra slack to the seat belt system and leaves the upper body with no protection, which will be very dangerous in a crash or with sudden braking.
  • All passengers should have their own personal seat belt and should not be "sharing" with other passengers.

Question:  I've seen products that say they can help make the seat belt fit better.   Should we get one of these?
These products interfere with the seat belt's ability to properly fit, as it causes the lap belt to ride too high on the stomach and makes the shoulder belt too loose.  These products should not be used, as they can also damage the seat belt. 

The Andrew Kim Law Firm is a personal injury firm located in downtown Bellevue.  Our office specializes in personal injury claims all over Western Washington and has experience with car accidents, bus accidents, dog bites and bicycle accidents, including adult and children injuries.  If you or a loved one has been injured, please call our office for a free consultation at (425) 289-1990, (253) 682-2000 or toll free at (800) 636-3676.