Restraining an older skinny minnie


New member
Quick question. Starting to think ahead as my kids get older and approach being out of restraints

My daughter is 9. I don't know exact height but I would guess around 4'7" or 4'8". She wears a size 10 pants and shirts. However she hovers between 44-46 lbs most days

She was in a nb turbo booster but I noticed she was getting too tall for head protection. (Non adjustable head rests) so I moved her to a top side which is more low profile.

She has a some growing room but not tons. She doesn't gain fast (gained maybe 3 pounds in the past 3-4 years but grows several inches per year).

So I don't anticipate her being much over 50 if that by the time she's too tall for the topside.

What do I do then? I can't picture putting a 48 pound child or whatever she will be in a seatbelt. What are my other options though?


Ambassador - CPS Technician
An Incognito perhaps? How close is she to 5-stepping?

This. Or perhaps you'll have a newer vehicle with adjustable headrests?

And if my choices were an ill-fitting seat belt or a booster that made the belt fit great but I was using it 'off label' for a child under the min weight limit...I'd do the latter with no concern whatsoever!


Well-known member
Doesn't that have a 60lb minimum? Or do I have that wrong?

Yes, I forgot about that. That would have to be a parental choice call. If she 5-steps, I'd let her use just the belt. If not, I'd consider using the Incognito and putting rocks in her pockets. ;)
This. Or perhaps you'll have a newer vehicle with adjustable headrests? And if my choices were an ill-fitting seat belt or a booster that made the belt fit great but I was using it 'off label' for a child under the min weight limit...I'd do the latter with no concern whatsoever!



Moderator - CPS Technician
Unless her low weight is caused by a condition that also affects bone density or delays growth, I would not worry about her in a seatbelt that fits properly. A 9 year old skeleton is a 9yo skeleton. That being said, super skinny pre-puberty kids fit the adult belt very differently than kids who have entered puberty. A recent example for you...

Last Thursday I did an event and a family came in with 10yo and an 8yo girls. They were 52 and 55 lbs (the 8yo being the heavier, but both skinny kids) and within a half inch of the same height (4'7"ish)

The 10yo had obviously hit puberty and the 8yo still was very much little girl shaped. The 10yo passed the 5 step beautifully. The 8yo needed a couple more years in a booster. Even though they appeared to have the same leg/torso ratio, the more rounded shape of the older sister changed the belt geometry and allowed the big sister to sit without slumping.

If E doesn't 5 step once she runs out of head restraint, you don't have a lot of options. Myself I'd probably use the Incognito under the minimums, but I wouldn't blink if another parent chose to use the Topside in the front seat.


New member
Yeah a new vehicle isn't happening

As for 5 stepping it's so hard to tell because she's so skinny. It just looks weird on her all around. But I still think it's gonna be another couple inches before she even looks remotely ok in a seat belt. Her pelvis is so small it just doesn't look right. I mean she wears a size 3t waist pants (well if she was short). I'll have to take a pic when she comes back from her dad's later this week

I'll probnaly just use the incognito off label. At times she does go in the front (air bag off and seat back) so that is an option (not recommended for those reading. It's a parental choice after trying to cram three kids in the back of a small car). I would rather have her in back though plus if hubby ever comes with us or my step daughter she has to be back there anywyas

So is the incognito a lot lower profile? I don't know much about it.


New member



Another vote for the Incognito if you're comfortable using it under the min if it comes to that. I wouldn't have a problem doing that myself.

The other option is the Bubble bum un-inflated. I'm sure they don't recommend using it un-inflated but it passes testing that way. (although I'd personally probably go with the Incoginto first)

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