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When to transition from carseat to booster?

My daughter is 3 and she is still in a carseat and I am wondering when does she transition from that to the little booster ones? She will be 4 in July and weights about 38lbs


Asked by KayGia0704 at 7:23 PM on May. 22, 2011 in Preschoolers (3-4)

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Answers (7)
  • Check the law in your state... I know here in MA kids MUST be in a car seat until 4. Even then I left my kids in the 5 point harness until they grew out of it. The child has to be old enough to understand that they have to sit with the seat belt in the right spot for a booster to be effective. Wait as long as you can!!


    Answer by Crafty26 at 10:54 PM on May. 22, 2011

  • I would wait until she no longer fits the height and/or weight of the carseat anymore. The longer you can put off that transistion, the safer she will be.

    Answer by layh41407 at 7:24 PM on May. 22, 2011

  • You can check w/ your local Child Safety Passenger program for the laws in your state & the most up-to-date advice, but I do know that the longer she is in a more protective seat (& facing rear for babies) the better it is! Booster seats do NOT afford the same amt of protection that the seats do for when the child is younger, smaller & the bones aren't as strong yet.
    You can check for info here on CafeMom @ The Stir, as well!

    Answer by suemayonline at 7:29 PM on May. 22, 2011

  • 5 or 6 years of age - definitely not at 3!

    Answer by Anonymous at 8:07 PM on May. 22, 2011

  • She'll need to be at least 4 and 40lbs before even thinking of it... before then it's just not safe.
    In addition she must have proper booster "manners".... so she will need to be able to sit without wiggling, leaning, messing with her belt, falling asleep and slumping over, ect... so if she is not mature enough, which most 4 year olds are not, then she will need to stay in her harness.
    Just as important as how well she sits in her booster is how well it fits... many 4 years olds are just too small! The belt needs to cross center at her chest and not fall too far off her shoulder or cut in at her neck. And VERY VERY important is where it sits across her lap... it can't ride up on her tummy it needs to lay flat across her THIGHS.
    It's best to keep her in her harness seat until she is almost too big... and then start booster training on short trips so she learns the proper way to sit.

    Answer by AmiJanell at 11:58 AM on May. 23, 2011

  • Check the height/weight limits on your current carseat, and on the booster that you are looking at getting. BOTH of my kids outgrew the carseat with the 5-point harness at 3. They were also about 3 feet tall and a pound an inch, so the were within the height/weigh range for the booster seat. When you do transition to the booster, get one with a back on it. The loop near the top of the back will help guide the shoulder strap properly across the child's torso.

    I do not regret for a minute moving my kids when I did. The car seat was just plain TOO SMALL for them, even having the straps at full extention.

    Answer by Rosehawk at 11:14 PM on May. 22, 2011

  • Thank you for your answers.. Thanks crafty26, I am in MA as well.

    Comment by KayGia0704 (original poster) at 10:04 AM on May. 23, 2011