Car Seat Safety: How to Do a Safety Belt Fit Test

safety belt, car accidentI can't tell you how many mothers have asked whether or not it's okay to let their big kid ride without a booster seat. Like I reported yesterday in the booster seat giveaway, the simple across-the-board rule is that if your child is between 40 and 80 to100 lbs, and under 4'9, they definitely, absolutely, must be in a booster seat.


According to SafeKidsUSA, many parents are surprised to learn that safety (or seat) belts generally do NOT fit children until they are between 8 and 12 years old.

In order to be super certain that a safety-belt is okay for your child without a booster seat, have all of your children under 13 years old take this important test:

  • Have the child sit all the way back on the vehicle seat. Check to see if the knees bend at the seat edge. If they do not, return to the booster seat.
  • Buckle the lap and shoulder belts. be sure the lap belt lies on the upper legs or hips. If it stays on the upper legs or thighs, move on to the next step. If it does not, return to the booster seat.
  • Be sure the shoulder belt lies on the shoulder or collarbone. If it lies on the shoulder, move onto the next step. If it is on the face or neck, return to the booster seat. DO NOT place the shoulder belt under the arm or behind the child's back!
  • Be sure your child can maintain that correct seating position for as long as you are in the car. If your child begins to slouch or shift positions so the safety belt contacts the face, neck or stomach, return your child to the booster seat until all the test steps can be met.

Is your big kid still in a booster seat? Or does she/he ride with a safety belt only?

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