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As soon as children start going to school and spending more time with their peers than their parents, they often tend to fixate on growing up and trying to be as independent as possible. A combination of seeing peers without safety restraints and the idea that proper safety restraints are for babies and not for older children may push your grade-school child to resist sitting in a booster seat.

You probably don’t want to endure a battle of wills every time you get in the car with your child. You may feel tempted to let your child just buckle up and ride that way. After all, kids didn’t used to ride in booster seats after they were too big for car seats. Is a booster seat really necessary for your child’s safety?

Seat belt design focuses on adult safety

Safety features in modern vehicles reduce the risk that people have for severe injuries if they get into some kind of motor vehicle collision. Safety belts help prevent people from getting thrown out of a vehicle in a crash or from tumbling around the cabin in a situation where the vehicle spins or flips.

Both the lap belt and the chest belt are necessary for safety restraints to work properly. Children are simply too short for the chest belt to fall at the appropriate place. Not only could it mean that the safety belt is not sufficient to keep the child secured in a crash, but it also means that the restraint itself could cause an injury.

How long should your child be in a booster seat?

Generally, kids move from the booster seats when they are too tall or too heavy to sit comfortably in more traditional child seats, which often have a maximum weight of 50 to 65 pounds. Until your child is at least 4 feet 9 inches tall, they need to ride in a booster seat.

Additionally, the government recommends that your child should be at least 8 years old before you let them out of a booster seat, but you may need to keep them in a booster until they are 13 depending on their size and ability to follow instructions.