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If you have a child that is small for their age how do you plan to tackle the carseat thing?

My oldest daughter just turned 10 but is only 4' tall and about 45-50lbs. She is still in a booster seat even though, by law, she doesn't have to be in one. None of her friends (most are much bigger than her) don't use seats and haven't for a long time. So far it hasn't been an issue but it will be eventually.

I don't see her meeting the recommended height to be out of her booster even at 12 and how many 12 year olds have you seen in booster seats?

And I always wondered about those ERF or extended harnessing. She didn't even hit 35lbs until she was 6 and was only 40lbs when she was 7 1/2. I can't imagine rear facing that long (she was also awful short at that age) but she was harnessed until she was 7 and it then became an issue where she would scream if we had to get in the car (the entire time we were in the car, too).
I told her we would discuss the booster when she is 12 and decide then what to do about it.


Asked by justanotherjen at 10:25 PM on Jul. 6, 2010 in General Parenting

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Answers (10)
  • I would be more worried about her safety than her pride on this one issue. My son say in a booster forever. He is 14 and only recently is 5'3" and 86lbs. So, he just hid it and went without it only with friends.

    Answer by BradenIsMySon at 10:27 PM on Jul. 6, 2010

  • My son is big for his age so I don't think we will have the same issue. But I do plan to keep him in a harness and then a booster as long as possible.
    I'm a pediatrics nurse and I have see what happens when a child is in a seat belt when they are too small... and it's not worth the risk. Your childs safety is WAY more important than her being "too old"

    Answer by AmiJanell at 12:27 AM on Jul. 7, 2010

  • I think you are doing GREAT by your child. Is she in a backless booster? If not, maybe now or when she is 12 would be a good time for that....

    Answer by Auntiemom410 at 10:27 PM on Jul. 6, 2010

  • Our state law is 8 or 80 lbs. My son just turned 8. He's no where near the 80 pounds. He's not the height for the shoulder strap to fall in the proper place. He's still in his booster. His best friend, however, is not even though his best friend is about an inch shorter. It's not an issue unless they've been in the same car. Less than a year ago I was in a bad accident - my car rolled 5xs. I was by myself & walked away from it - badly bruised where the seat belt had grabbed hold on my left shoulder and hip. I remind DS that I lived through that *because* my belt was on properly. I point out that *if* he was in that car without a booster seat, that belt would have cut into his neck *if* it had even kept him in place in his seat. I explain that I know it's hard to be in this seat while his peers are moving out them but that we do it because we love him too much to risk his life just to be cool. (cont)

    Answer by ldmrmom at 10:38 PM on Jul. 6, 2010

  • (cont) The other thing, though, is that each car seat itself is different. In DS's friend's van (follow that? LOL!) the middle row seats are captains chairs with adjustable belt height. Logan *can* sit in those with the belt in the proper spot. In the center seat of my Mazda 5 or my parent's Accord, the belt falls in the proper spot. In the side seats on both cars it does not. So our deal is that if we're got 3 in the rear seat, he can sit in the center without out. Or, if he's in the van with his friend, he can go without it. However, if he's in his usual spot, he's in that booster until he grows another inch. :) Based on where he sits today that's about all he's off until the belt falls properly.

    Answer by ldmrmom at 10:42 PM on Jul. 6, 2010

  • I agree, safety is way more important than anything.

    Answer by spbeta at 12:48 AM on Jul. 7, 2010

  • My DS (8) complains sometimes, but he just isn't tall enough yet, even though he has passed the age where it is required.

    Answer by CaLizzyMom at 9:09 AM on Jul. 7, 2010

  • My 4.5 y/o weighs 32 pounds and is barely 3 ft tall. She was in a convertible carseat until like 2 months ago now, she is in a high back 5 pt harness and she will be there until she is 7 or 8, if she doesn't grow.

    Answer by matthewscandi at 10:34 AM on Jul. 7, 2010

  • But how do you plan to handle it?

    Today I took the kids out in my dad's clunker.  I have 4 kids, the car seats 5 so my son (almost 9, 4'6" and 70+lbs) sat up front and the fit in the seat belt with the whole test thing (knees bent, seat belt across his thighs and shoulder, etc).  My 10yo ended up in the back (which made her mad but there was no arguing that, he's the biggest he rides up front) but she was in the booster and threw the biggest fit.  She gets carsick, though, so need to be by a window.  This was the first time she's ever had a problem being in her booster and that was mostly because the 7yo (who is the same height but 5+lbs heavie)r was in the middle with just the lap belt...normally she has a booster.  So it is becoming an issue.  We sat there for 25 minutes while she threw a huge tantrum, screaming and kicking.


    Comment by justanotherjen (original poster) at 5:21 PM on Jul. 7, 2010

  • Oh, this was obviously a special case for us since we don't normally go anywhere in my dad's car and my 4yo was using the other booster because I'm too big (38 weeks pregnant) to get inside and install her highback with the harness straps.  It's only the 2nd time we've used the car and only the 1st time I've had all 4 kids in it but it was way too hot to take the bus today.

    In our truck she has to be in the booster because the seats are way bigger.  My son also doesn't fit in just the seats (except up front in the middle which isn't the safest but it's all we have--he uses one of the boosters in back if there is room).  She has never complained about using the booster in the truck but I see this being an issue in the future because no other 10yos we know use any kind of carseats/booster even if they are small.  I'm tired of the constant tantrums.


    Comment by justanotherjen (original poster) at 5:24 PM on Jul. 7, 2010