I believe they say after 3 years of age. I would recommend a five point harness car seat over a booster though. I think they've even extended the age to 8 years old or something like that. You can get a good car seat like the Britax. I have that for my son and the weight limit is 65 lbs.
kris I got this from the web. I know the seat belt needs to fit in the right spot. Ryan is not old enough for a booster.
Booster seats are for older children who have outgrown their forward-facing car safety seats. Children should stay in a booster seat until adult belts fit correctly (usually when a child reaches about 4' 9" in height and is between 8 and 12 years of age).
I've also read that you should leave them in the 5-point harness seats as long as possible, and with a 65-lb, car seat, that's pretty long. We got a nice-looking tall-backed booster seat for a trip we went on (by train and rental car, so we couldn't take my son's huge, much heavier 5-point harness seat). I like the booster seat's looks, but suspect it as well, because it's obvious it wouldn't be as safe in a crash.
When my son got too heavy for his 5 point harness at 40lbs I went out and bought a different seat so he could stay in the 5 pt harness until he is 65lbs and 51 inches high...hopefully that will take him to 8 or 9 years old (he's 43lbs at 6 years old right now). I personally just think it is safer than the seat belt. Current research is starting to recommend that kids are rear facing until 30lbs so I think we are definitely going to see some changes in thecar seats over the next few years. I wouldn't be surprised if 5 point harnesses for older bigger kids are the norm in the next few years too.
I kept Carson in the 5 point harness as well, he went into a booster around 4 & 1/2- Cameron inherited that seat. I would stay with the harness thru age 3, longer if you can. When we went to booster seats, we went with a high backed one. It has more support & is really comfy. Had a co-worker in a pretty nasty wreck over the holidays & the booster helped save her little girl, her head was cushioned from the back & sides & prevented alot of injusries she probably would have gotten if she had no support. They also take the chold out in the seat, helps keep them steady incase there is an injury to the back or neck. I know a lot of kids don't use them now as Carson is 6 & 1/2, but a young one in first grade, most of his friends are 7- we don't refer to it as a car seat much anymore- he thinks he has a chair to help him see out the windows of our SUV, whatever works.
Okay, sorry for the novel I wrote- then I forgot to add- Cameron will be 3 end of March, he;s nowhere near getting into a booster. Hang on for awhile, with the little ones you just be as careful as you can, soon they won't let you hover anymore....
My son is almost 4 and is in a high back booster. He is 45 pounds and the seat is good until 65 pounds and he will stay in it until he out grows it. I think it's much safer than a regular seat belt or a straight booster with no support. He actually really loves the seat because it has cup holders and a trays on the sides for his toys/snacks and he can see out the windows.
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