What Age Can My Kids Transition To Booster Seats?

WVDOT Automotive is reader-supported. This post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Various car seats are manufactured according to your child’s age, height, and weight. It is necessary for you as a parent to look into these aspects to pick the right seat for your child. Booster seats are one of the many car seats designed and manufactured to provide the best comfort and safety for your child so you and your child can transport without any stress.

You may ask when should your toddler switch to a booster seat? Well, parents must note that their child can only be allowed on the booster seat if he/she exceeds the height and weight limit from a forward-facing car seat and is at the age of 8 to 12 who weighs above 40 pounds.

It is also important for your child to be mentally mature to sit properly at any given time. If your child is old enough, then it is time for you to make that switch.

Here’s the five common things you should also know about switching:

  1. What Are Booster Seats?
  2. Your Child’s Age And Their Car Seats
  3. When Is Your Child Ready For A Booster Seat?
  4. What If You Switch Too Early?
  5. Cons Of Switching To A Booster Seat

In this article, I will provide you the vital information when you are considering making a transition that is too early for your child and can be dangerous. So make sure to read through the whole article to know the right answer of when to switch to booster seat.

5 Common Things You Should Know About Switching To A Booster Seat

Switching your child from one seat to another seat is indeed necessary, but do you know when exactly it is due? It is one of the most common mistakes that parents tend to make when choosing a car seat or when it is time to make a switch.

This can be due to a lack of information or a message that was not clear, or just not knowing about it at all. This is why every parent needs to do their research beforehand to help your decision-making a much easier process, and you can even help out other parents.

1. What Are Booster Seats?

When it comes to booster seats, you should know that there are mainly four types of booster seats out in the market; backless booster seat, high back booster seat, combination booster seat, and all-in-one booster seat. (BTW, you can review my 7 best picked booster seats).

They might all be booster seats, but they have distinctive features than one another and perform in different ways when it comes to protecting your child.

It is also important for you to know that your child should have the appropriate height and weight that matches the height and weight limits of the booster seat, as it is mainly designed for older kids to fit in well and sit comfortably.

High Back Booster Seat

This type of booster seat is a great option for your child if you are planning to switch as it comes with back and head support so your child can rest well and sleep comfortably without having to worry about leaning forward, as it will keep your child in place even during a crash.

Your child must be up to 40 pounds so he/she can fit in well. This type of seat is really good for traveling as it is easy to handle and provides the best positioning for should belt so it will not be placed too close to your child’s neck.

Backless Booster Seat

As for this type of booster seat is designed and manufactured differently as it does not come with a back and head support like the previous booster seat. This seat only provides the cushioned seats that will raise your child once the seat is placed on your vehicle seat.

The reasoning behind this is that as it will lift your child, it will also work as a better seat belt fit which is necessary when sitting on a car seat. Moreover, you need to note that the vehicle car seat should reach your child’s ear once he/she is seated on the booster seat as it will prevent serious skull injuries from the whiplash of the crash.

Combination And All-In-One Booster Seat

The name of these two booster seats says it all, as these types of booster seats can be used for front-facing harnessed car seats and converted into a high back or a backless booster seat by removing the harness easily. The all-in-one is designed similarly to the combination booster seat.

One of the great things about these seats is that it is a good investment for parents as instead of buying four different car seats, they can simply buy these and get all the features they are looking for in just one. They don’t have to worry about the expiration as they can last up to 6 to 10 years so your child can practically grow in it.

2. Your Child’s Age And Their Car Seats

When it comes to the safety of your children, you should ensure that you have installed the right car seat type amongst the many car seat types out there. The four main car seat types that are most common and have the highest security are the infant car seat, convertible car seat, all in one car seat, and lastly, the booster car seat.

As your age matures and reaches a certain age, it is your responsibility to ensure that during driving, your children are seated on the correct car seat to minimize the chances of accidents or injuries.

Infant Car Seat

The infant car seat is specially designed to ensure safety and protection for the smallest children. Most infant car seats are designed with a base that buckles with the seat securely and tightly. This car seat is to be used by children in their first year in life up to 2 years only if their entire body fits perfectly with the shape of the seat.

Convertible Car Seat

The second type of car seat is specifically designed to fit two to four years old. It can be used as a rear-facing and forward-facing car seat, ensuring that your children are safe and secure at all times.

Nonetheless, it is stated by the FFA that you are obliged to keep your child seated in the rear-facing position for as long as possible as it is the safest way to sit compared with others.

All In One Car Seat

Children of age up can use the third car seat to 10 years, which is quite efficient as you will not have to change 3-4 different car seats by the time your child reaches the age of 10. Besides its extensive lifespan, it is also comfortable and cozy due to the soft padded material.

Booster Car Seat

The fourth and last type of car seat can hold children ages from 8 to 12 years old besides that, this type of car seat is designed for children when their height reaches 4 feet 9 inches. The benefit of the booster car seat is that it raises and positions the child so that it fits properly around the shoulder, hips, and chest areas.

3. When Is Your Child Ready For A Booster Seat?

Parents need to know that every child’s car seat has its usage and expiry date. As your child gets older, you will have to start making changes to match their growth.

It is also important to note that these changes should be made at the right time by slowly for them to adapt, especially when you are transitioning to a booster seat. This change is obligatory when your child is 8 and above and weighs approximately 40 pounds.

Your Child Behavior

You should note the behavioral manners of your child as kids can easily unbuckle themselves, and some might lean forward or slouch, which can be dangerous.

It is also important to note your child’s mental and physical maturity to test if they can remain seated for a long period, as some kids might adapt quickly and learn to behave while seated, whereas, for some kids, it can take time.

If your child tends to do that on the booster seat when you switch, then it is necessary to move them back to the previous seat, which is the forward-facing car seat. Physical and behavioral maturity is really important because some kids who are young might be able to fit easily and adapt quickly.

Whereas some kids who are older and loves to play around can mess with the seat belts by not wearing the shoulder belt or twisting them around or even unbuckle or they simply might not fit in well.

Which means during a crash they are likely to fall out of their seat and falling somewhere inside or outside of the car. These are the aspects that parents should look into before moving the child into a booster seat.

4. What If You Switch Too Early?

The switch is all about when your child’s height and weight exceed the other car seats in order to make sure that your child can fit and sit comfortably on a booster seat. This should be the number one priority of you as a parent.

It is essential for your child to be old enough so the seat belt can fit the child’s body perfectly and keep him/her secure in place.

The Federal Aviation Administration stated that your child should be seated rear-facing for as long as possible, which means that you should delay moving your child on the forward-facing or any other car type as much as you can.

If you think that moving your toddler on the booster seat too early will be a good thing, then you are wrong. Actually, there is no need to move them so fast just because they reach their age.

If you are using a convertible car seat and your child still has not outgrown it, then isn’t it a good thing to use it until it is? As it will also save you a lot of money and since you are familiar with the seat you can use it longer and anywhere, you like.

Early Switching Could Be Confusing And Challenging

Moreover, switching too early when your children barely adjusted in the previous seat will make it confusing and challenging. It can also increase the chances of injuries as if your child weighs less than 40 pounds.

The seat belt will not adjust or stay tight, so if your child either plays with the belt or if it’s too loose, there are high chances of strangulation during a crash.

It will surely provide a good amount of extra space compared to other car seats, but it does not protect your child from moving around or unbuckling or even from side and frontal collisions.

5. Cons Of Switching To A Booster Seat

It is important for you to know that no matter what people tell you how good switching toddlers on a booster seat is or other parents telling you it is fine as their kids are on it too, you must not consider doing it at all because it is not the best choice for your child.

There are higher deaths rates linked with crashes, including children who were seated on the wrong car seat at the wrong age. The reason why I did not mention the pros is that switching your child when they are just a toddler is not allowed as by the law, and every parent should take that into consideration before making a change.

Cons Of Switching

  • It is clearly not made for toddlers even if the weight is more than 40 pounds or so because it is not the appropriate age.
  • Your toddler can easily unbuckle themselves on the seat if they play around too much.
  • The booster seat will not be the right fit for your child as the seat belt can be loose. (Learn How To Lock A Seat Belt For Your Child Seat).
  • Your toddler can easily lean forward or slouch downwards, which can be highly dangerous.
  • It is dangerous for toddlers as their bodies are too small, and they can be ejected from their seats easily.
  • The forces of the crashes might be directed through the sensitive body of your child instead of the car seat as they are not the right fit.

Conclusion

At last, we have come to the conclusion of this article. Hopefully, now you have a deeper and better understanding of when to switch to booster seat so that your child is safe from all sources of injuries.

Even though there are many different car seats out there to choose from, it is crucial that you pay close attention to the distinctive features of the car seats that match your children’s age, height and weight, so that you and your family can have a safe and pleasant journey. Besides safety, it is equally important that your child is comfortable when switching from one car seat to another.