Petite Kids and Boosters? - Mothering Forums

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Old 03-31-2013, 12:01 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My six year old is very petite. She still weighs only 35lbs and is only 40 in tall. Her doc isn't concerned: she has very short parents and were as children, so it's likely genetic. However, we've left her in a convertible car seat since she still fits the height/weight requirement. Most of her friends ride in backless boosters if anything, but since she is so small, I haven't even seen any backless boosters that are for children that small. She thinks the boosters with backs we saw at Target are as babyish as a carseat. Any ideas about a compromise between her wanting to feel more grown up and me wanting her in a seat that's appropriate for her size?

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Old 03-31-2013, 03:00 PM
 
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Thats a tough one. Personally, I would harness to 40# but if you are set on a booster you could get a high back turbobooster and tell her she can take the back off when she gets to 40# provided it fits. Turboboosters tend to fit petite kids well. Just make sure you check the fit. The lap portion of the belt should be low, touching her thighs, not her tummy.

I believe there are backless boosters for 30# plus but I don't know what they are as here in Canada all boosters are 40# min.
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Old 04-01-2013, 06:15 AM
 
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My 5.5 year old is a little bigger than your daughter, 37lbs and 41.5inches. He's booster training in a highback turbobooster with safety surround. It fits him beautifully and he's not even in the lowest setting so I'm guessing it would be a good fit for your dd. the lap belt is nice and low and he sits really well so we'be been using it in the five minute trip to and from school.
I wouldn't used a backless booster for a petite, brand new booster rider. The back really helps them stay in position.

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Old 04-01-2013, 10:24 AM
 
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I have a few thoughts on this:

 

1) while she is the size of a four year old, she has the bone structure of a 6 year old.  As such, she should be perfectly safe in a booster if you can get her to fit.  Most people start booster training in a high back booster, but that is mainly for convenience and depends primarily on *her*.  A high back booster will keep a child slightly more contained *and* provide support if they fall asleep.  Most kids are ready for a no back booster by 7-8, but it wouldn't be abnormal for a 6 year old to be ready for one at all.

 

2) This is going to be an ongoing battle, so you might want to think through what your response is going to be. For example, while there is nothing inheirantly dangerous about a 40" tall 6 year old in a booster, there IS danger with a 46" tall 9 year old in a booster (same approximate size on the growth chart).  Unless her growth changes dramatically, she will simply not be ready to ride without a booster until years after her peers are out of a booster (since most parents have them out well before it is actually safe).  The current recommendation is boostering until passing the 5 step test which generally happens around 4'9" which maybe when your child is over 12 (now, once a child is post-pubescent, they have a different bone structure that lends itself to riding without a booster, but still this WILL be an issue). 

 

All that said, I did some research and found a few backless boosters that are rated down to 30 pounds.  In your situation, I would probably be comfortable putting her in a backless booster for around the town trips (since it seems like she is facing some peer pressure issues)--- to school and the like.  If she didn't mind, I would consider continuing harnessing on long trips or road trips (so she has the ability to sleep).  You might put her in a booster and find that she does wonderfully, you might put her in and find she doesn't.  To be in a booster, the child needs to be able to not fidget, not lean over while the car is moving, keep the belt in place (not try to put it behind the back or the like), etc...

 

I do not know if these boosters are comfortable.  You could try to find them in a local store, if possible, and have her try them out. 

 

Backless booster with 30 pound weight minimums:

 

http://www.amazon.com/Cosco-Juvenile-Highrise-Booster-Holly/dp/B006ZISW6U/ref=sr_1_2?s=baby-products&ie=UTF8&qid=1364832507&sr=1-2&keywords=cosco+highrise

 

http://www.amazon.com/Harmony-Olympian-Youth-Booster-Black/dp/B00318CKMY/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1364832562&sr=8-1&keywords=harmony+olympian

 

http://www.amazon.com/Harmony-Cruz-Booster-Seat-Black/dp/B00AZIDF5E/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1364832667&sr=8-3&keywords=harmony+cruz

 

There are several other boosters that come with backs that are rated down to 30 pounds even with the back removed (Graco Turbobooster is not).  They would, obviously, be a more expensive option but would give you more choices (as well as the option to use the back on trips or if she was not doing well with the backless option).

 

Good luck!


 

 

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Old 04-04-2013, 11:28 PM
 
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I would not put a child under 40 lbs, of any age, into a booster unless I had no other option (perhaps a super tall lightweight child who had outgrown every harnessed seat I could afford, for example). It is not just the bone structure we are concerned about, but whether or not the seat belt will lock properly in an accident. Some vehicle manuals specifically prohibit booster or seat belt use for children under 40 lbs. Others do not mention it, but I feel it's an important guideline to follow. Several states and all of Canada have it written into law, and this is not without reasons. I have heard several stories of smaller booster riders flying forward and hitting the vehicle seat in front of them in a sudden stop / emergency braking situation. 

 

I think you need to sit down with your daughter and explain to her that the reality of being a smaller than typical person in this world comes with some unique challenges, and this is one of them. Tell her that when she reaches 40 lbs, she can ride in a high-backed booster until she can fit properly into a backless. Not many 40 lb kids get good seat belt fit in a backless booster without the addition of a "clip" to move the seat belt, and these clips have not been proven terribly effective in real-life crash data though they seem to work fine on crash test dummies on test sleds. If the belt fits snugly against her chest and crosses her shoulder at the collar bone in a backless, fine. But if it doesn't, a high backed booster would be safer.

 

She needs to understand that this is for her safety. Let her pick something out that she likes. Maybe she'd like a more big-kid looking seat like a Nautilus or a Maestro, instead of the convertible seat she's got now.

 

I had some luck at that age with my boys by telling them they were not allowed to argue with me and giving them consequences (usually losing related privileges) if they continue to whine about something I've already made up my mind about. In a situation like this, it would probably be something like, "Fine. You don't like riding in a car seat? You don't have to go anywhere unless I deem it necessary. No trips to the park. No trips to friends houses. No, we're not going out to ice cream because I don't want to hear you whining about your car seat. Maybe tomorrow (or next week, on a second offense. Or next month on a third offense. Etc.. but I don't think I ever had to take it that far. Explaining the consequence ahead of time and following through once or twice was enough).  


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Old 05-14-2013, 09:46 AM
 
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Thank you for posting about this and all of the replies!

I have to say that I am still a little confused. I have had my 5 year old in a backless booster as soon as she hit 40lbs (beause I thought that is what I was supposed to do). She also is very petite and now that I am researching I am confused on if she needs a 5 point harness or high back booster? She is now 42 lbs and 45 inches (and will be 6 in Sept). I'm not sure what helps determine between needing the 5 point harness vs. the high back booster? I'm sure she needs to be in something more than she is, but I want to make sure it's the right thing.

 

My other daughter, who is 8 is 55 inches tall and weighs 88lbs, is still in a backlessbooster, though she may not need it anymore.

 

Thanks in advance for help clairfying this!


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Old 05-15-2013, 08:20 AM
 
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The biggest consideration in deciding whether a five year old should be in a harnessed seat or in a booster is whether she is able to sit properly for the entire trip every trip. Many five year olds have the maturity to sit up straight and not wiggle or flop around so their seatbelts remain properly positioned and can ride safely in boosters. If your daughter can handle this, a high-back booster that fits her well is a fine choice. If not, she would be better off in a harnessed seat for now.

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Old 05-15-2013, 11:36 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wish View Post

Thank you for posting about this and all of the replies!

I have to say that I am still a little confused. I have had my 5 year old in a backless booster as soon as she hit 40lbs (beause I thought that is what I was supposed to do). She also is very petite and now that I am researching I am confused on if she needs a 5 point harness or high back booster? She is now 42 lbs and 45 inches (and will be 6 in Sept). I'm not sure what helps determine between needing the 5 point harness vs. the high back booster? I'm sure she needs to be in something more than she is, but I want to make sure it's the right thing.

 

My other daughter, who is 8 is 55 inches tall and weighs 88lbs, is still in a backlessbooster, though she may not need it anymore.

 

Thanks in advance for help clairfying this!

physics girl already addressed your question about the harness versus booster (basically, does she understand how important sitting correctly is?  does she mess with the straps?  does she lean forward to try to reach things?  does she put the seatbelt behind her back?)

 

For your older daughter, there is a good chance she still needs a booster.  Most kids need them until at least 57".  You can do the 5 step test on her to check:

 

http://carseatblog.com/3966/the-5-step-test/


 

 

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Old 05-23-2013, 01:30 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by revolting View Post

My six year old is very petite. She still weighs only 35lbs and is only 40 in tall. Her doc isn't concerned: she has very short parents and were as children, so it's likely genetic. However, we've left her in a convertible car seat since she still fits the height/weight requirement. Most of her friends ride in backless boosters if anything, but since she is so small, I haven't even seen any backless boosters that are for children that small. She thinks the boosters with backs we saw at Target are as babyish as a carseat. Any ideas about a compromise between her wanting to feel more grown up and me wanting her in a seat that's appropriate for her size?

 

I just wondered what you decided on.  Whatever booster (If you went with a booster), I'd love to know to be able to pass the info to other parents of tiny kids. 


 

 

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