Help interpreting new California booster seat law - Mothering Forums

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Old 05-16-2012, 02:14 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My DS will be 8 in October and is 4'5" inches tall, and has been asking when he'll be allowed to ride without a booster seat. I was researching the new booster seat law for my state and found this:

 

http://www.chp.ca.gov/community/safeseat.html

 

which states that children must ride in a booster seat until age 8, and it goes on to say that children under age 8 who are at least 4'9" may use a regular seatbelt instead of a booster. 

 

But what about children who are 8 years old but are not yet 4'9" (I'm assuming my DS won't grow 4 inches in the next 5 months, although I suppose it's possible)? Do they have to meet the age AND height requirement, or just one or the other? 


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Old 05-16-2012, 02:18 PM
 
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I recently took the CA drivers test and if I remember correctly, it is 8 years old OR 4'9", whichever comes first.
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Old 05-16-2012, 02:34 PM
 
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My reading of the law would be that your son is not required (by the law) to be in a booster seat once he is 8 years old. 


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Old 05-16-2012, 10:23 PM
 
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While he may *legally* be able to ride without a booster soon, I have never known an 8yr old who was big enough to safely ride without a booster.  

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Old 05-17-2012, 11:00 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alegna View Post

While he may *legally* be able to ride without a booster soon, I have never known an 8yr old who was big enough to safely ride without a booster.  

 

They do exist.  Not only are there some tall kids out there (I have known several who were over 4'9" at 8) some cars, themselves, have seats that are safe for smaller/shorter kids.  The middle seat of the  middle row in my van, for example, fits a smaller child quite well.  DS fit it while still 8 (almost nine) but two years later he is only beginning to fit into the side seat. 


 

 

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Old 05-17-2012, 09:52 PM
 
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True- after I typed that I thought of those old rf trunk seats in station wagons  lol (not safe for other reasons, but...)

 

But what I was inarticulately getting at was that whether he fits correctly is much more important than what the law says.

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Old 05-18-2012, 12:59 PM
 
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Originally Posted by alegna View Post

True- after I typed that I thought of those old rf trunk seats in station wagons  lol (not safe for other reasons, but...)

 

But what I was inarticulately getting at was that whether he fits correctly is much more important than what the law says.

 

Yes, totally!  I think it's also so easy at this point to use a backless booster--- which is not obvious from outside of the car if that is an issue (doesn't want friends to see he is still in a carseat)--- that there is no reason not to *until* your child is safer in the seat alone.


 

 

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Old 05-18-2012, 02:30 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by alegna View Post

But what I was inarticulately getting at was that whether he fits correctly is much more important than what the law says.

 

I agree, good point. I think I'll tell DS that when he's 4'9" we can talk about not using the booster. Especially since, as TiredX2 said, it's so not a big deal to use a backless booster. I was mostly thinking of the rare occasions when he rides in a friend's car or something. 

 

Thanks for the comments though -- I thought that's what the law meant, but I wanted to make sure I was reading it right. thumb.gif


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Old 05-19-2012, 07:49 PM
 
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The "five step test" for being out of a booster goes like this:

 

1. Does the child sit all the way back against the auto seat?
2. Do the child's knees bend comfortably at the edge of the auto seat?
3. Does the belt cross the shoulder between the neck and arm?
4. Is the lap belt as low as possible, touching the thighs?
5. Can the child stay seated like this for the whole trip?

 

No mention of age or height, just whether the seatbelt fits. 
 

(I don't know why I can't reformat that.  Sorry.)


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Old 05-21-2012, 12:52 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MariesMama View Post

The "five step test" for being out of a booster goes like this:

 

1. Does the child sit all the way back against the auto seat?
2. Do the child's knees bend comfortably at the edge of the auto seat?
3. Does the belt cross the shoulder between the neck and arm?
4. Is the lap belt as low as possible, touching the thighs?
5. Can the child stay seated like this for the whole trip?

 

No mention of age or height, just whether the seatbelt fits. 
 

(I don't know why I can't reformat that.  Sorry.)

 

Yeah, my daughter turned 8 today and was trying to convince me yesterday that she met the 5 step test. "umm, no, if you have to slouch down to get your feet to touch the floor, you're not passing the 5 step test dear."

 

Ds was out of his booster just before he turned 9 because he's got a long torso and we had a small car. The booster was putting his head above the head rest. I think if we had our current minivan, he would have been in one longer. Dd is only 4'5" tall at age 8, so she's go many more inches to go!


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Old 05-21-2012, 01:07 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LynnS6 View Post

 

Yeah, my daughter turned 8 today and was trying to convince me yesterday that she met the 5 step test. "umm, no, if you have to slouch down to get your feet to touch the floor, you're not passing the 5 step test dear."

 

Ds was out of his booster just before he turned 9 because he's got a long torso and we had a small car. The booster was putting his head above the head rest. I think if we had our current minivan, he would have been in one longer. Dd is only 4'5" tall at age 8, so she's go many more inches to go!

 

 

My 9 yr old just got out of her booster.  And she wasn't embarrassed at all. In fact she wants it back.  She liked the view better. 

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Old 05-21-2012, 09:59 AM
 
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The new California law was deliberately written with fit in mind.  If he's 8 years old, but the belt doesn't fit correctly, it's illegal to drive without a booster. 


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