This post contains affiliate links, as well as mention of a product we received for free. When to stop using a booster seat is a question a lot of parents ask so I hope this is helpful!
I remember when Mr. A was born I read an article that talked about kids being in car seats and booster seats until they were 10. I scoffed! Literally. Out loud.
Of course, what the heck did I know…I was a first-time parents who was hyper-focused on my itty-bitty newborn. Ten seemed so far away. Ten seemed so big.
Fast forward eight and a half years….and ten doesn’t seem so big anymore.
So here we are, my son close to turning nine and he still sits in a booster seat. I’ll admit he’s gone without it. We’ve been in a pinch and he’s tall, so in certain cars, it’s been okay. But for everyday travel, he’s still in one. Sometimes he gripes, but honestly, he’s never known life without some sort of carseat so complaints are few and far between.
Miss E is six and I still have her in a high back booster seat. She’s on the smaller side, so I like her having the impact wings around her head.
When will I allow them to stop using them?
It’s a tricky question. According to SafeKids.org, most kids need to use a booster seat until they are at least 4 feet 9 inches tall and weigh between 80 and 100 pounds. That means that the majority of kids will stop when they are somewhere between ages 8 to 12 years old. But their size is only one factor to consider.
BabyCenter shared an article that includes five questionsto see if your child still needs a booster seat.
Essetially your kids need to be able to not only meet the size recommendations but also:
* Have their back against seat
* Lap belt along thighs
* Knees bent at seat edge
* Shoulder belt between shoulder and neck
* Child is able to sit up straight and leave the seatbelt in a safe position
Do you see that last one? Sit up straight and leave the seatbelt in a safe position? That’s the KEY. And that’s why my son is still in a booster. Even in his booster, I’ll turn around at a stop light and he’s slouching or leaning over in a way that if we were to be in a crash, he’d be severly injured. So the booster stays. Kids need to be at a level of maturity that they won’t fidget and wiggle in their seat and we aren’t there yet.
To help with this, we have a secret weapon.Meet the BubbleBum. It’s an inflatable booster seat for kids over 40 lbs. It’s compact, not remotely bulky and most kids don’t mind sitting on it.
When we traveled to Universal, I knew we’d need to take an Uber, but I certainly didn’t want to lug a booster through the airport just for getting to the hotel and back to the airport. The BubbleBum comes with a storage bag and easily fit inside my carry-on. When we landed, I just blew it up and poof, Miss E had a safe seat in the car!
The BubbleBum has two red belt guides on either side, ensuring the lap belt is where it should naturally be. Also, there is a shoulder belt positioning clip included if you find the shoulder belt fits too high or not against your child’s shoulder (it’s for comfort only, as discomfort is a primary reason kids fiddle with the straps or try to move them around).
We keep our BubbleBums in our trunk at all times because I often have other kids in the car. We carpool to school and the BubbleBum makes carpool SUPER easy. We have friends who don’t have extra seats and if they were doing afternoon pick-up, I could easily put Miss E’s BubbleBum in her bookbag. Also, I know some kids don’t use booster seats anymore in their cars, but I feel more comfortable with them in one in mine, and it doesn’t make them feel super babyish.
Our days in boosters are numbered. It’s amazing to think I can see a future without carseats in my car.
But we’re not there yet.
Are your kids still in a booster? How old are they?