How old it too old for a child to be in a booster seat? - Mothering Forums

View Poll Results: How old is too old for a child to be in a booster seat?
7-9 years 23 16.79%
10 years 32 23.36%
11 years 7 5.11%
12 years 16 11.68%
13 years 8 5.84%
14 years 4 2.92%
15 years 1 0.73%
16 years 1 0.73%
17 years 1 0.73%
18+ years if the person hasn't reached 4ft. 9in. 44 32.12%
Voters: 137. You may not vote on this poll

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#1 of 166 Old 06-28-2007, 09:41 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Times have sure changed since I was a kid. I can't imagine forcing an older child who is about to enter puberty or the "teenage years" to sit in a booster seat.

If they're gonna make laws about putting children who are 4ft. 9in. in a booster seat, then that should apply to adults who are short as well. Most 10yr. olds are at least 4ft.9in. but some don't make it that height until highschool. Then there's adults who are under 4ft. 9in.
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#2 of 166 Old 06-28-2007, 10:00 PM
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Unless your kid is tall enough to sit safely in a seatbelt it's absolutely stunned to say, "Ok, you know, I think at 9 you are old enough to die in a car crash. No booster for you!"

Good grief. If your kid needs a booster, put him in it, don't pass on your weird insecurities to your child (the general 'you' of course)
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#3 of 166 Old 06-28-2007, 10:59 PM
 
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I suppose that at 18 they can do what they want, but I would try to keep them in it as long as possible.
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#4 of 166 Old 06-28-2007, 11:02 PM
 
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No, seriously, if you're genuinely short, and you don't even reach 4'9" as an adult, when do you stop using a booster seat?

Of course I don't want my child to die in a car crash, but seriously, when does it become okay to ditch the booster seat? Or is it simply unsafe for a short adult to be driving a car? (I'm asking this seriously -- my grandma was 4'10" and always sat on a pillow when driving so she could see over the steering wheel.)
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#5 of 166 Old 06-28-2007, 11:46 PM
 
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Originally Posted by JanB View Post
(I'm asking this seriously -- my grandma was 4'10" and always sat on a pillow when driving so she could see over the steering wheel.)
OMG, mine too! Or a phonebook.
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#6 of 166 Old 06-29-2007, 01:38 AM
 
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well my 7 year old is 4'3" and I can't imagine making her sit in a car seat. my 10 year old is short for her age but has to be over 5'9" or right at it. I wouldn't dream of making Madeline sit in a carseat. How humiliating. I don't know a single person in real life who would even consider it. (Lily could probably still squeek by without being embarassed but not in front of her friends) . I think their emotional health is as important as their physical health. I really feel ok putting them in a regualr seat. We simply cannot protect them from everything and there comes a time where we just have to decide which is more important. strapping them down and covering them with padding or just getting on with life.

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#7 of 166 Old 06-29-2007, 02:50 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mommy2abigail View Post
I suppose that at 18 they can do what they want, but I would try to keep them in it as long as possible.
This is tongue in cheek, right? You seriously would keep a kid in a booster through high school until they were legally an adult??

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Originally Posted by JanB View Post
No, seriously, if you're genuinely short, and you don't even reach 4'9" as an adult, when do you stop using a booster seat?

Of course I don't want my child to die in a car crash, but seriously, when does it become okay to ditch the booster seat? Or is it simply unsafe for a short adult to be driving a car? (I'm asking this seriously -- my grandma was 4'10" and always sat on a pillow when driving so she could see over the steering wheel.)
Yeah, my grandma too. She drove from the time she was 12 (no license laws back then) to age 90 with only a speeding ticket here and there. She'd still be driving now if my uncle hadn't taken the engine out of her car. : But seriously, she's 5'0 on a tall day, with heels on.
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#8 of 166 Old 06-29-2007, 02:53 AM
 
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All of these grannies propped up on phone books oughta answer this question.
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#9 of 166 Old 06-29-2007, 02:54 AM
 
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I can't answer your poll. There isn't a choice for "when they pass the 5 step test". If your child doesn't pass the 5 step test, then they need to be in a booster until they do. http://www.carseat.org/Boosters/630.htm
Yes. There are adults who should technically be in a booster. And they make them....boat seats or backless seats for those of small stature would be fine. Here are examples: http://www.cabelas.com/products/Ccat21334.jsp

You cannot compare a physically mature shortish adult and a physically immature child. It has more to do (if not all to do with) skeletal structure, joints, ligaments, and tendon maturity than it does about height. A childs immature physicality will not withstand crash forces in a MVC as a mature adults would. The average vehicle retraint system is made with an average 5'4" adult in mind. The 4'9" height given is a general recommendation. NHTSA issues such a recommendation with the knowledge that that benchmark will likely increase the chance that the childs age will be older, consequently giving the childs body time to mature. FTR, NHTSA recommends booster seat use for children 4 years old to at least 8 years of age or unless they are 4'9" tall. As CPS professionals we also recommend that the child weigh at least 40 pounds.

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#10 of 166 Old 06-29-2007, 02:57 AM
 
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Originally Posted by lilyka View Post
well my 7 year old is 4'3" and I can't imagine making her sit in a car seat. my 10 year old is short for her age but has to be over 5'9" or right at it. I wouldn't dream of making Madeline sit in a carseat. How humiliating. I don't know a single person in real life who would even consider it. (Lily could probably still squeek by without being embarassed but not in front of her friends) . I think their emotional health is as important as their physical health. I really feel ok putting them in a regualr seat. We simply cannot protect them from everything and there comes a time where we just have to decide which is more important. strapping them down and covering them with padding or just getting on with life.
Gosh, my almost 7 yo is still in her car seat - not even a booster yet. She doesnt think twice about it. All her friends are also still in seats. Because they have always used them, there is no sense of embarrassment about it. It's just the way it is. No biggie. I don't know how tall she'll be at ten, but if she's still too short to go without, I assume I will still put her in a booster.
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#11 of 166 Old 06-29-2007, 02:57 AM
 
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I used to nanny for a couple of doctors and they kept their kids in at least boosters, maybe harnesses, until 9 years old. They are the ones that saw the kids injured in crashes from not being in them. I think that it will become more and more common to see older kids in boosters...I personally will err on the side of physical saftey. If I had an extremely short child, I don't know, but I can easily see keeping my kids in seats until 8-9 years old.
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#12 of 166 Old 06-29-2007, 02:59 AM
 
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My 8 y/o is in a booster, as are all but one of his classmates (she just turned 9 and is tall). DS is 54".....I just don't like where the seatbelt hits him when he's not in his booster.
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#13 of 166 Old 06-29-2007, 02:59 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dallaschildren View Post
I can't answer your poll. There isn't a choice for "when they pass the 5 step test". If your child doesn't pass the 5 step test, then they need to be in a booster until they do. http://www.carseat.org/Boosters/630.htm
Yes. There are adults who should technically be in a booster. And they make them....boat seats or backless seats for those of small stature would be fine. Here are examples: http://www.cabelas.com/products/Ccat21334.jsp

You cannot compare a physically mature shortish adult and a physically immature child. It has more to do (if not all to do with) skeletal structure, joints, ligaments, and tendon maturity than it does about height. A childs immature physicality will not withstand crash forces in a MVC as a mature adults would. The average vehicle retraint system is made with an average 5'4" adult in mind. The 4'9" height given is a general recommendation. NHTSA issues such a recommendation with the knowledge that that benchmark will likely increase the chance that the childs age will be older, consequently giving the childs body time to mature. FTR, NHTSA recommends booster seat use for children 4 years old to at least 8 years of age or unless they are 4'9" tall. As CPS professionals we also recommend that the child weigh at least 40 pounds.

DC
I just read your link and I'm very glad that I'm not a crazy woman for intending to keep my dds in boosters for a long time to come. Thanks for the info and the reassurance!
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#14 of 166 Old 06-29-2007, 05:21 AM
 
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Both of my kids will stay in a booster until they are 4'11" (or whatever the height is), regardless of their age. I have family that is shorter than that as adults and they drive cars modified to be safe for their height, including pedal adjustments and modified booster seats to make them safe.

Until cars are made to be safe at other heights, it isn't about age, but physics of car design.

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#15 of 166 Old 06-29-2007, 06:14 AM
 
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ON impact, they jerk right out of their shoulder and lap harnesses like they're greased pigs. Slam right into the ceiling, out the windshield, like rag dolls. It's HORRIBLE. I remember there was a 12 yo "dummy," tall, slim, "big enough" for a regular belt. The dummy flew just as fast as the smaller victims.

Regular car seating is not designed for a small person. It's designed to "Fit all." But it does not fit all. Then the seat belts and shoulder straps are designed for average-sized and weighted adults. The positions do not work for smaller, lighter people.

The booster seat fixes that shortfall. Really, seats should be designed for the user, but they're not, so it's not something I have any problem with enforcing with my child, who is now 8. If she is riding with me in my volvo wagon, she uses the booster. If she rides with another mother who's car is rather tank-like, and her children ride w/o boosters in it, I'm okay with that. I think she's about as safe in that tank with no booster as she is in my car with one.

However, if I had a big Durango or other SUV, I'd have dd use her booster. Having survived my own terrible car accident at age 22, and then survived our minivan being t-boned with us both in it, I can measure with pretty good accuracy how protective my dd's booster seat was to her. Had she not been in it, she'd have flown out of the belt. She was using a booster with a five point harness. Her neck got whipped a little, which prompted me to buy a Britax, which was awesome while she fit it. I wish I could afford a new one for her.

It's important, it's easy enough to do, it communicates to your child every time they get in the car, "I want you to be safe from harm."

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#16 of 166 Old 06-29-2007, 06:45 AM
 
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Originally Posted by lilyka View Post
I think their emotional health is as important as their physical health. I really feel ok putting them in a regualr seat. We simply cannot protect them from everything and there comes a time where we just have to decide which is more important. strapping them down and covering them with padding or just getting on with life.
I've always liked you! Seriously, this is how I feel also. My girls are 10, 6 and 4. Dd1 and dd2 are small for their age; dd3 is not. Currently dd2 and dd3 are both in backless boosters. I've told dd2 (she complains terribly) that she can drop the booster when she turns 8 (like dd1 did). She has a little over a year to go and is counting the days.

When dd1 was in kindergarten, there were only three kids in the class still in car seats or boosters of any kind. She thought I was awful to make her sit in one until eight years old! Third grade when her peers stopped in preschool. I did it because I felt it was necessary/safe/etc.

But I do agree with lilyka that their emotional health plays into it too. My state recently raised (yet again) the ages/heights/weights for who needs to be in boosters by law. I am not generally a rule breaker but am not making my 63 pound almost 11 year old get back into a booster. Give me the $62 ticket (or whatever it is). I'm just not doing it.

I know some will think it awful. I have two Britax carseats - one in each car, professionally installed. Attended the three hour car seat clinic. We lugged big, heavy, bulky car seats onto airplanes and paid for seats when the kids were little enough to be on laps per airline rules. Bought other car seats to be used with my sister or in preschool carpool situations - as our seats were hard to uninstall and reinstall (well, you could but they were in so nice and tight that I hated to take them out - so two Britax; one in each car - plus the loaners). I am all about car safety. But I'm not putting my 15 year old in a booster no matter how petite she is.
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#17 of 166 Old 06-29-2007, 07:24 AM
 
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I don't think there is a particular age I could pick out as too old. I think it needs to be based on what is safest for that person due to their development/stature and how they feel individually. At age 18 they can make the decision for themselves on what they will do.
If someone needs to sit on a phone book or pillow maybe they should require an adult version of a booster seat to make it safer for people of shorter stature.

We demand that everyone in our car wear a safety belt. Until dd can pass that 5-step test she'll use whatever she needs to use to be safe if she wants to ride in our car.

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#18 of 166 Old 06-29-2007, 07:47 AM
 
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But I'm not putting my 15 year old in a booster no matter how petite she is.
: My 3-1/2-yr-old is in a high back harnessed booster, and will be harnessed until he maxes the weight limit (should be right around when he's 4) and then in the belt positioning I imagine until he's about 6; then a backless until he's 8-10, depending on the situation. We'll apply the same to my daughter. I just can't see how emotionally weird it would be to have a tween/teen in a booster seat, and agree with others that emotional health at that age is very important. PLUS, we make it a point to buy the best crash-rated cars we can afford (we currently have a 5-star rated one on all crash scenarios) and keep them properly maintained, which are two things I think are VERY often overlooked in crash scenarios.

It's tragic when freak things happen like seat belts not working, or airbags not deploying or overdeploying; I can't imagine the horror of losing a child, and hope I never have to. But, at the same time, since it's risky to even be putting my child into a car in the first place and I take that risk almost every day, I take the whole scenario into consideration and make judgement calls from there, which include not making a tween/teen sit in a booster seat. I was 4'9" in 9th grade, and cannot imagine being forced to sit in a booster (even a backless one), nor can I imagine my parent making an argument that would convince me to do so willingly. Life is full of various levels of risk, which can be mitigated to varying degrees.

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#19 of 166 Old 06-29-2007, 09:27 AM
 
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If I was an adult under 4'9", I'd happily sit in a booster seat, it could save my life!

We are a very tall family, and I have no doubt my son will be out of his booster by 10. But if he's not, oh well. I'm not willing to let him die in a car crash because he feels too old to sit in a booster. Plus at that age it's not like he'd have to be in a high back booster that looks like a carseat, he would be plenty old for one of the seats without a back that couldn't even be seen from outside the car.

Also, I see many kids his age, or at least his size without a booster. I could never live with myself if he was injured in a car wreck and something as simple as a booster seat could have prevented it.

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#20 of 166 Old 06-29-2007, 09:44 AM
 
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My kids are 6 and almost 8 and are both in booster seats still. I plan to keep them in one until the seatbealt fits them correctly without the seat. I don't think they would even like not having the seat because they would not be able to look out the windows.

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#21 of 166 Old 06-29-2007, 10:01 AM
 
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My dd is 7 and is in a booster. She thinks the cup holders are cool so she doesn't mind it.
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#22 of 166 Old 06-29-2007, 10:10 AM
 
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My nine year old son is happy in his booster - here in PA it is the law, and since it has been the law since he was little he doesn't know any different.
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#23 of 166 Old 06-29-2007, 10:11 AM
 
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Originally Posted by ThreeBeans View Post
Unless your kid is tall enough to sit safely in a seatbelt it's absolutely stunned to say, "Ok, you know, I think at 9 you are old enough to die in a car crash. No booster for you!"

Good grief. If your kid needs a booster, put him in it, don't pass on your weird insecurities to your child (the general 'you' of course)
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#24 of 166 Old 06-29-2007, 10:15 AM
 
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The legal criteria for my province is one of the following:

- child turns eight years old
- child weighs 36 kg (80 lbs)
- child is 145 cm (4 feet 9 inches) tall.

and that will be my minimum standard.

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#25 of 166 Old 06-29-2007, 10:44 AM
 
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This is a hard question for me. I didn't pass that 4'9" requirement until I hit a growth spurt around 14 maybe even 15 years old. My son is more of average size so i'm not worried about him taking THAT long... but I could not see myself forcing a teenager to sit in a booster seat.
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#26 of 166 Old 06-29-2007, 10:48 AM
 
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I don't have an answer yet. I certainly have not set an arbitrary age in my head. DD is only 10 months old. Needless to say, she's sitting rearfacing in a convertible seat and could care less about what her peers are doing. However, I am 4ft 10in. I did not ride in a booster in high school. I did not ride in a booster in middle school. I was not in a booster when I was 7. I have no memories of ever being in a seat, but I know I was. My mother, 4ft 11in herself, followed the laws (in the 1980s) about carseats.

I do not meet the requirements for sitting in front of an airbag. I'm too short and not heavy enough (maybe I am now postpartum). When I was learning to drive my mother would not let me drive in a car with airbags. She even desperately tried to get her own airbag turned off.

I have no trouble seeing over the steering wheel in my Honda Civic. I can reach the pedals without issue. If I felt a need, I would use an adult booster. However, even as ballsy and unconcerned with others opinions I was as a teen, I can't imagine riding in a booster then.

I have no clue what I'll do if my DD is as short as me. No clue at all.

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#27 of 166 Old 06-29-2007, 11:29 AM
 
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Very short adults need to use a booster, unless they can find a car that's designed to fit them. Most cars simply are not designed with extreme heights in mind and therefore an adequate safety level cannot be acheived for them without modifications such as boosters and possibly something done to the foot pedals, for shorter people and larger vehicles for taller people.
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#28 of 166 Old 06-29-2007, 11:30 AM
 
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As long as they need to be in one, which will probably be a LONG time for Evan who isn't on the height or weight chart as of now. He'll easily rf to 4 or 5, as will Ilana.

Quote:
strapping them down and covering them with padding or just getting on with life.
That's ridiculous, considering if you don't strap them in right, they might not get to get on w/ life. I find it absurd that some of you care MORE about your kids theoretical emotional health (since most kids want to be safe and if that includes a booster, they'll happily sit in one) than their life. What good are emotions if you're dead? There wouldn't be laws about carseat safety at all if parents would care enough to do what is best for their child to begin w/.

Did anyone watch Oprah recently where the little girl (7) was decapitated by her seatbelt? That's what can happen if you're in a seatbelt that doesn't fit, child or adult.

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#29 of 166 Old 06-29-2007, 11:39 AM
 
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havent read the posts yet, but my sis had a friend whose last day in a booster was the first day of 9th grade- thats when she grew out of it, she was super petite

*~*Ashley*~* newly single mama to Tristan 10/01/2007
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#30 of 166 Old 06-29-2007, 11:46 AM
 
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another thing is, while nobody rode in a booster seat past 3 or 4 when i was little, now almost all kids that age are still in harnessed carseats. a 10yo in a booster was unheard of, but it's not anymore. it is quickly becoming the norm.
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