Child Passenger Safety Week | Booster Seat Safety

If you’re a regular reader here, you know that car seat safety is a very important topic that I like to discuss occasionally. I tend to focus on extended rear facing car seats until the age of at least 4 years old but I have never discussed the importance of booster seat safety for older children.

Booster Seat Safety

Most parents know that it’s safer for older children to ride in boosters—in fact 4-5 year olds using booster seats have a 67% reduction in fatality risk vs. other 4-5 year olds riding unrestrained. What some parents may not know is what booster seat laws apply to them, as they vary by state and can be pretty confusing. For example, in some states all children under 8 years old must be restrained in a booster, and other states only require children to 4 years old to use one. Although the AAP recommends that children ride in booster until the age of 12 or 57’, only 13% of children 54-56” do.

Child Passenger Safety Week 2013 | Booster Seat Safety

My older three kids were in car seats back in 2003-ish… and I was getting ready to get rid of all three car seats. I was ‘following the law’ (because that’s all I knew at the time) and the kids didn’t “need” them anymore. It just-so-happened that the law changed that year and I was also planning a 22 hour drive from Illinois down to Florida… so I went out and purchased three brand new booster seats. The kids stayed in those for a few more years and were perfectly happy – and safe. I’m really glad I kept the kids in their boosters, now looking back.

Don’t Rush Your State’s Minimum Requirements

Parents, please keep in mind, the state laws are the minimum requirements. There is no reason to turn your 1 year old forward facing, you can keep them rear facing for a few years. And as long as your child has a car seat that fits their height and weight, there is no reason to take them out of a forward facing car seat with a 5-point harness. Once they do outgrow the requirements of the car seat, then please, please find a safe booster car seat that will position the car shoulder and lap belt properly.

Keep those kiddos safe!


  1. I stay up-to-date on car seat laws all the time. My daughter is still in a booster seat as NYS laws require children to age 7 to be in one. I’m not sure she’ll be out of them by the time she is 8 though even though she is tall. My son was in a booster until 8! It is very important subject everyone should follow – to save lives of our precious little ones.

  2. We are in Texas, so my son will be in a car seat/booster for another 4 years! I may keep him in even longer though. I’m so paranoid about being extra safe.

  3. This is such a good infograph! Many parents don’t even realize all this information or really all the safety features to consider. This is so good to know!

  4. I’m one of those crazy carseat ppl. 🙂 I rear faced my granddaughter until she was 5 and hit the limit of her seat rear-facing. I’ll do the same to my other granddaughter. I’m always telling my daughter the laws so this will help me out – they seem to change fairly often and sometimes it’s hard to keep up. Heck I’d be in a 5point harness myself if I could – would be safer.
    Thanks for this post!

  5. I try to stay up to date on car seat laws and suggestions. It’s so worth it!

  6. It makes me crazy how many people don’t do their car seats correctly. Turning them around too soon and just not even buckling them in correctly. It’s so important. Great info!

  7. This is such important info! It’s frustrating that some of the state minimums don’t go far enough to keep kids safe.

  8. the best information and the right time out there….BRAVO!

  9. This is great information to stay up to date! Having a little guy, car safety is so important! Thanks for the tips!

  10. We are in Florida and age 4 isn’t long enough to keep the kids in a booster.. my daughter will be in her seat for a long time to come.. I love that other states have even up to age 8… wish Florida would get that as well. Thanks for sharing, such an important topic to cover and share with parents

  11. My kids are all out of car seats now, but I kept up with all the requirements when they were using them!

  12. It’s really sobering that so many car seats are installed improperly.

  13. totally agree with not rushing the minimum! Kids shouldn’t KNOW any better if you just always keep them rear-facing or in their regular car seat… 🙂

  14. I totally agree about keeping them facing rearwards for longer than a year if their size allows for it. It’s so much safer!

  15. I totally believe in keeping your kids buckled as long as possible in the staged seats, like a high weight capacity 5-point harness seat much longer than just 3 years, as long as they fit it! It really frustrates me that AZ’s laws are at 5 they can be in just a seat belt. SO not safe!

  16. i’m a car seat fanatic. my 8 year old is 58 lbs and just went to a hi back booster. My 6 and 4 year olds will be in a 5 paint harness for years!!!

  17. I am emailing the link to this post to my daughters! Such important information needs to be shared with anyone we know who can use it!

  18. My son is still in a regular car seat but once he’s in a booster he’ll be in it for a LONG time!

  19. Ugh, why is my state so lenient?! My kids are all in a rush to meet the age requirement to be out of their boosters. I don’t want them out, but it’s a fight with my husband who thinks since it’s not against the law, they’re fine. I’m all about keeping them in as long as possible to keep them safer! It’s not hurting them any, and IF something ever were to happen and we were in an accident, I’d much rather them be safe!

  20. I think it is shocking how many car seats are installed incorrectly. I don’t know why it’s so hard to do. But it seems like no two car seats at the same. There is always something new or different that complicates installation. I always read the user manual before even trying to install my car seats. It also helps that I have a firefighter paramedic for a brother-in-law. He doublechecks all my work.

  21. Wow it’s crazy how different states have different age limits…personally I think some of the states have the ages a little to low.

  22. Car seat safety is so important. It drives me crazy when I see someone that doesn’t have their child properly buckled or even in a car seat. But I think often parents just don’t know. I wish the laws were more universal and the state too more time to inform parents.

  23. so helpful heading into the holidays!

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