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  1. #1
    Carseat Crazy happymom's Avatar
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    How do you determine booster readiness?

    So somehow among people I know I've become the go-to person for carseat advice. Problem is - I only have one child and he's very little. I don't know a lot about boosters.

    I know it is the law in Utah to boost until 8 or 4'9" and it's recommended to harness "as long as possible"....in which case, a very small teen or pre-teen could be harnessed in certain seats. At what weight and height do you draw the line and let these small children ride in a booster? Pretend they are 6-10 years and mature enough, just small. Does their size have any impact on your decision?

    Also, what are your thoughts on backless boosters? When is it okay to use one? Are they only acceptable on short rides, carpools, or is it pretty safe to use them full time for an older child?

    I'm just looking for a carseat advocate or an experts opinion, rather than just the minimums allowed in each state.

    Thanks!
    Mom in a Buick Verano + Dad in a Nissan Frontier
    DS1 6.5, 35lbs, 42" FF in a Harmony Defender + KidEmbrace Spider-Man
    DS2 2.7, 27lbs, 35" RF in a Cosco Scenera Next + Britax Marathon 70-G3

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  3. #2
    Carseat Crazy
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    For kids that age, there really is no research/proof available to prove a harness is any safer or less safe than a booster if both are properly used 100% of the time. For me, personally, I take age, weight, and maturity into consideration when determining booster readiness. For example, my 5.5 year old, 38lb daughter is still harnessed. She would use a booster correctly, I'm just waiting until she hits at least 40lbs or outgrows her nautilus by height. I won't buy another seat to keep her harnessed as long as possible. My 6.5 yr old is in a hbb, but it is my understanding that from a safety standpoint, there is no difference between a high-back and a no-back, but I could be wrong on that. I personally think the back reminds the child to sit properly and provides some side impact protection as well as head support when the vehicle lacks headrests.
    C: 12/06, maui PW
    M: 02/08, carbon vivo
    C: 12/10, RF sporty blue TF

  4. #3
    Ambassador - CPS Technician CTPDMom's Avatar
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    Re: How do you determine booster readiness?

    I encourage harnessing until at least 40lbs regardless of age. And to harness to at least 5 whenever possible. Longer if they can do it and especially for kids who are special needs and might have less impulse control.

    However, there ARE exceptions to this. My niece has a growth issue, and at 8.5 still wasn't 40lbs. She did, though, get a great fit in her GN as a booster so my sister chose to transition her and I concurred with that decision.

    My own ds was well beyond 40lbs, and was 2 months shy of turning 7, completing first grade, when we moved him to a booster. Was that as long as 'possible'? No, because he still had growing room in his GN by both height and weight. But he certainly was mature enough to undertand that he needed to sit right. He had great belt fit in his Monterey, and I was comfortable with that decision. It's really a parental choice.

    My thought on backless is to move to them when the high back is outgrown by height, preferably. I like that the high back offers some measure of side impact protection. If I had a 2nd row that had a center seating position, I might be ok with my child being in a no back sooner in that position, further from the window. Some people don't feel this is an issue, and use a no back earlier. Again, it's entirely a parental decision.

    I do allow my own child in a no back in my friend's car for occasional rides, where he is the only child present and is in the center back seat. In our regular vehicles, he's in Monterey's and will be for a while yet. He is 7.5 years.
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  5. #4
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    5.5-6.5 is about how long I think harnessing is necissary. About that age is when most kids become mature enough to stay in place. I think its helpful to booster train before the harness is entirely outgrown so you can threaten wiggle worms with it. I agree with the pp about high backs, they help remind younger newer booster riders to stay in place and give sleepy heads someplace to rest. It can also help with belt fit in some vehicles and give head support when the vehicle lacks it.

  6. #5
    Carseat Crazy happymom's Avatar
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    Re: How do you determine booster readiness?

    Thank you everyone! I worry my son will not reach the 40lb mark until he is 7 or 8 years old because his growth curve and was curious to what others thought of moving to a booster prior to hitting that milestone!


    Thank you all for your opinions!
    Mom in a Buick Verano + Dad in a Nissan Frontier
    DS1 6.5, 35lbs, 42" FF in a Harmony Defender + KidEmbrace Spider-Man
    DS2 2.7, 27lbs, 35" RF in a Cosco Scenera Next + Britax Marathon 70-G3

  7. #6
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    Re: How do you determine booster readiness?

    Quote Originally Posted by kjandbaby View Post
    Thank you everyone! I worry my son will not reach the 40lb mark until he is 7 or 8 years old because his growth curve and was curious to what others thought of moving to a booster prior to hitting that milestone!

    Thank you all for your opinions!
    With a very small/lightweight child, I would consider moving the child before they hit 40lbs. If your DS is 6yo+ and in the 35-39lb range, I would consider moving him to a booster seat at least part time. We moved both of our twins to booster seats part time when they were 6yo and full time at 7 1/2 yo.
    Twins in boosters at 8yo: DS in hbb Sunshine Kids Monterey and nbb Graco Turbobooster. DD in hbb Graco Turbobooster, Recaro Vivo, and nbb Graco Turbobooster

  8. #7
    Carseat Crazy skylinphoto's Avatar
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    My 5 year old is 30lbs..and im thinking when she turns 6 ill let her use a booster full time (she does use a hbb once a week as a spare right now).
    She should be 33 lbs (looking at her growth curve) and a wee bit more mature by then.

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    -Jessica. mom to :
    Aislin (4-30-2006)..44lbs and 46.5 in tall. Boostered in a Cybex Solutions x-fix
    Skyla (3-13-2008)..32lbs and 43 in tall. Boostered in a Clek Oobr

  9. #8
    Carseat Crazy
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    Quote Originally Posted by kjandbaby
    Thank you everyone! I worry my son will not reach the 40lb mark until he is 7 or 8 years old because his growth curve and was curious to what others thought of moving to a booster prior to hitting that milestone!

    Thank you all for your opinions!
    At that age, I would be ok with booster use even if they are under 40lb.
    C: 12/06, maui PW
    M: 02/08, carbon vivo
    C: 12/10, RF sporty blue TF

  10. #9
    Senior Community Member aeormsby's Avatar
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    Re: How do you determine booster readiness?

    I kind of go with (40lb and 5yo) or 6yo for boostering. DD started using a booster occasionally when she turned 5 and was 40lb and she moved to a booster full time shortly after she turned 6. DS just hit 40lb at 5.5yo but he's a fidgety kid and tends to fall asleep on longer drives so he'll stay harnessed for now. I might switch him to a booster in our truck after summer is over - we use it for camping trips during the summer and I want him harnessed for those longer drives but I'm not in love with how the FR installs with the seatbelt so I'll probably swap stuff around in the fall.
    Ann

    DD - 1/06 - 5-stepping
    DS - 12/07 - Incognito, Recaro Performance Booster & Harmony Literiders
    And a Bubble Bum for backup/travel

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