Big kid seats

WHEN your tot becomes a big kid they will move from the baby or toddler car seat to booster seats. Booster seats raise your child a few inches, which is necessary to allow them to use the adult seat belts safely.

Before you switch to a booster seat, you have to assess whether your child is really ready. Booster seats require some level of maturity as the only harness and restraint will be the regular car's seat belt.

Here are a few tips to make sure your child is safe in a booster seat, courtesy of Safe Kids Worldwide. Safe Kids is a non-profit that works with an extensive network of more than 400 coalitions in the United States and with partners in more than 30 countries to reduce traffic injuries, drownings, falls, burns, poisonings, and more.

Note: Children seated in a booster seat in the back seat of the car are 45 per cent less likely to be injured in a crash than children using a seat belt alone.

Top tips for using booster seats

- Make sure your child has outgrown the weight or height limits allowed in the forward-facing car seat. He/she must also be mature enough to ride without a harness. What does "mature enough" mean? The child needs to stay in the booster seat the entire ride with the seat belt properly fitted across the shoulder and below the hips.

-Children using booster seats should ideally be at least age four.

- When your child is seated in the booster seat, make sure the lap and shoulder belts fit. The seat belt must lie flat across your child's chest, on the bony part of the shoulder, and low on the hips or upper thighs.

- Do not place the shoulder belt under the child's arm or behind the child's back.

- Older kids get weighed and measured less often than babies, so check your child's growth a few times a year. For most kids, they will be between ages eight to 12 years old before they are ready for the seat belt alone.

- Be sure you ask about booster use if your child is travelling in another vehicle that's not your own, and take it along with you when you travel.

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