5 answers

Backless Booster Seats

I am wondering at what point can children sit in backless booster seats? Also, can they use the lap belt?
Anyone happen to know any good websites that would give me feedback on safety of backless as compared to backed booster seats?

We will be soon changing our 6 month out of her infant seat to her brothers car seat. Our van has a buildt in car seat so our 4 year old (who has qualified for a booster seat in height and weight since 3) will be going into a different booster. I also have 2 girls I take care of 3 days a week that need seats, so I am deciding whether I can purchase a backless seat to use when they are here or another backed booster. Hmmm...

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So What Happened?™

Thanks everyone for your input. I watched the UTube video and talked it over with several detectives and state troopers that do inspections. Even though the utube video is very sad, you can find many equally sad stories out there about kids that were killed in car seats that were installed properly and such, as the officers informed and shared with me. It is a tough choice to make and one that my husband and I decided we will make when we come to that bridge in a few weeks. As we do not have money for a 5 point seat for our 4 year old, so we will see...

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I am not sure, and have often wondered this myself. I look forward to reading what others have told you.
Sorry no help,
G.

I have heard that the booster seats are really dangerous and there is supposed to be a youtube video that has a family whose little girl was killed because of internal injuries from being in a booster while the older sister was fine. Keep your kids in carseats as long as possible!

I would never put a child in a booster seat using only a lap belt. The occupant's body will jackknife over the lap belt at the waist in a collision potentially causing severe abdominal injuries, fractures of the lumbar spine, and serious head and facial injuries.

From http://www.aap.org/family/carseatguide.htm:

Which type of booster you get depends mostly on your vehicle. If your vehicle has low seat backs or does not have any head restraints, you will need a high back booster to provide whiplash protection for your child. If your vehicle does have head support, a backless booster is fine. However, some younger children prefer a high back style, as the side "wings" allow for more sleep support. Also, some older children prefer a backless style that does not "show" as much and cause teasing from peers. You must be absolutely sure that your child has adequate head support before using a backless style. Remember, safety before popularity.

From http://www.aap.org/family/carseatguide.htm:

Booster seats are designed to raise your child so that the lap and shoulder seat belts fit properly. This means the lap belt lies low across your child's upper thighs and the shoulder belt crosses the middle of your child's chest and shoulder. Correct belt fit helps protect the stomach, spine, and head from injury in a crash. Both high-back and backless booster seats are available. They do not come with harness straps but are used with the lap and shoulder seat belts in your vehicle, the same way an adult rides. Booster seats should be used until your child can correctly fit in lap and shoulder seat belts (see "Seat belts" below).

Your child should stay in a car safety seat with a harness as long as possible before switching to a booster seat. You can tell when your child is ready for a booster seat when one of the following is true:

* She reaches the top weight or height allowed for her seat with a harness. (These limits are listed on the seat and are also included in the instruction booklet.)
* Her shoulders are above the harness slots.
* Her ears have reached the top of the seat.

This site is useful for comparing different car seat brands and models. http://www.nhtsa.gov/CPS/CSSRating/Index.cfm#Booster

Hi R.,
All kids under the age of 4 need to be in car seats. They can't be in booster seats until 4 and over 40 pounds. I wouldn't do the backless seats. You want all the kids to be safe in your car. Good luck.
Chris

NEVER use a booster with only a lap belt. NEVER!! I tried a backless for my son, however the seatbelt did not sit right on his neck in my car. In our truck it worked fine. I bought one with a back so that I could use the things on the side to put the seatbelt through. Another nice thing about seats with backs, is for child sleeping in the car. With no back, there is no place to rest their head. It kinds of hangs over the seatbelt. I did a carseat installation at my local fire department. They have them several places, that might be a good place to check for information. Good Luck.

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