Question Classic car with lap belts and a 6 year old


New member

I was wondering what the current recommendations for keeping a 6 year old (about 45" and 45 lbs) safe in a classic car with lap only belts. Specifically a 1959 Ford Galaxy convertible.

The child rides in booster seat in all other vehicles. I assume boosters and lap only belts are still against the current guide lines/rules? The parent asked if it is better for the child to be in a booster with the lap-belt or without and just the lap-belt.

I haven't been a tech for quiet a few years, so I would greatly appreciate your guidance on this. I want to present the parents all the available options for this situation.

Thank you for your help


Admin - CPST Instructor
Staff member
A lap belt only is not allowed with any booster. The reason being is that it basically will cut the child in half at the waist with a booster. In a proper use state, it's also illegal.

Without the booster, it will do the same.

The child should ride harnessed, or not at all in the car. Maybe in a booster in the front seat if there's a lap and shoulder belt there, and they're not putting an adult in mortal danger by having them ride with a lap belt and no headrest in the back (without a shoulder belt, there's no upper body restraint, so they're jack-knifing over the lap belt moving forward during the crash, and without the headrest when they come back after the crash has happened there's nothing to catch the head. So you're looking at potential spinal injuries from hair to butt for anyone riding in the back in a lap belt, basically).



New member
Thank you Wendy. I appreciate your answer. I figured that the laws of physics were still the same for boosters and lap-belts, but thought I should ask. I will inform the parent.
I thought their use to be a vest/harness(?) or something that could be used with a lap only belt in cars. It there anything like that around still or are the options:
1). Don't have the 6 year old in the car (state dangers listed above).
2). 6 year old in harnessed seat (are their harnessed seats that don't require top tethers or top tethers that can be installed in a car that old?)
3). 6 year old in front passenger seat with lap/shoulder bet (if available) and booster. (Inform adults of danger of back seat lap belt for them as well).

Thank you again for your help.


Active member
The Ride Safer vest can be used with a lap belt and a tether. You'd have to find a spot to put their tether anchor loop, and the child's head would need support from the vehicle seat. Judging by a photo with children of a 1962 model for sale, the head support may not be there. If the child has head support now, he probably won't for long.

All FF seats have to pass without the tether, but some do require it over a certain weight. The others highly recommend its use or require it if there is a tether anchor available.

From the photos I found online, lap/shoulder belts in the front seats seem impossible in the convertible. I only found one photo that showed any belts at all, and they were lap belts in a 1964 model. To Wendy's point of adults being put in mortal danger by lap only belts and lack of head support, it appears that all seating positions would be equally dangerous for adults.

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