Car Seats and PRE-K Questions!!!!

Updated on June 22, 2010
S.Y. asks from Clearwater, FL
17 answers

Hello moms :) I have two questions... that have nothing to do with each other. My 1st question is about Pre-K...I am not sure how it works..I know your child is eligible at 4 years old..but im confused as to when the b-day cut off date is and All of that. My son just turned 3....he will be 4 May 2011...I would sign him up for NEXT fall classes...not THIS Fall...correct?? And would he be eligible for the free classes??

Ok 2nd question...what is the weight/age that a child can be switched to just a booster seat in a car...for the State of Florida?? My son is (again) 3 and he weighs about 32lbs.

Thats it, thanks again for you time!!

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answers from Naples on

Hi Sarah - The cut off is August 31 I believe. The state pre-K program is free. It can be taken in many places - often daycare centers have the programs. Sometimes there are wrap-around fee's (for additional art projects and extra materials for learning). So it just depends on the place.

On the carseats -- 40 lbs. I think! I am waiting for my 4 year old to be ready for one. But he's only 35 lbs. He has been 32-35 for a while -- I'm thinking it will be a bit for us.

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answers from Minneapolis on

Pre-K is generally the year before Kindergarten, so when a child is 4yrs old.

At only 32lbs your child could still be REAR FACING, so he should in no way be in a booster seat. Keep him in a harness until he's at least 40lbs and at least 4-5yrs old. Graco Nautilus is $150 and can harness a child to 65lbs, generally to age 6/7 in height, and then becomes a high back booster and eventually a no back booster to 100lbs. He will never need another seat, and it will keep him harnessed for at least 3 more years. He's not a big boy at only 32lbs, so keep him harnessed. No 3yr old is readyf or a booster seat.

A forward facing seat is outgrown when one of htree things happens, the child goes over the weight limit, the ears are level with the seat back, or the shoulders go over the top harness slot. When ONE of these happens, the seat is outgrown and needs to be replaced ASAP.

Keep him harnessed, he's much too young and too light for a booster seat.

The law in Florida sucks, but remember laws are BARE MINIMUMS, and your child is worht MORE than the bare minimum. Keep him haressed!

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Hartford on

Pre-K ages depends on area (state) and school (if private or public) Cut off dates really depends, many start at 3 years old.
HE would qualify in my state (CT) this year! Call the schools!

Booster seat with high back? I think it is a federal law but not sure, usually it is 3 and 3o lbs. for high back and 4 and 40 lbs for no high back.

My oldest who is 6 is still in a high back booster, it helps hold the seatbelt in place!


1 mom found this helpful


answers from Jacksonville on

I think they have to be 4 to be in a booster, I'm not sure of the weight. My daughter is 5 and 45 pounds and I still have her in a 5 point harness. It's much safer than a booster.
For pre-k (voluntary pre-k that the state pays 3 hours a day for you) they have to be 4 years old by Sept.1 of that school year, so your son would be eligible in 2011.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Fort Myers on

Every child who is 4 yrs old, but not yet 5 is eligible for the VPK. However, not every private pre-school is completely covered by the voucher. Only some are. Most times, the voucher (paid directly to the school) covers a majority of the cost and you have to pay the difference. I would suggest that you start your search now as most schools have waiting lists. That way when you find one you like you will have a better chance of getting him in. Here's the website (it's hard to navigate I think).
As far as a carseat, pls keep him in a 5pt harness as long as possible. We use the Graco Nautilus that someone else mentioned and my daughter loves it.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

Call the preschool. My son started Nursery school (2 mornings/week) when he was 3 and potty trained, which was the fall after he turned 3 in March.......

Also, for state specific car seat questions. Find a local inspector for a free seat check. 3/4 car seats/boosters are used incorrectly!

I don't think he's big enough for a booster yet. 5 pt. harness seat is best.

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answers from Tampa on

hi, all i can say is that i have a special needs son that is three. his b-day is in jan., and he started ese pre-k wright when he turned three. he rides the bus to/ and from the school WITH a car seat provided by the school. i dont see why your child HAS to wait till age 4, (if your wanting to start now?) my son weighs 36\and a half lbs, (but they never asked meabout his weight/ to be considered on that.)



answers from Tampa on

Call your local police department and ask about the booster seat. Some even give them out for free. The laws change so often it's best to get the information directly from the police department..



answers from Miami on

I don't know why the state doesn't make the general public more aware of this terrific program to get our kids a head start (and give us mommies a break) for FREE! That's nothing against you, just a statement - something I've felt for a while...

To answer your question, I believe the age cutoff is September 1 - they must be 4 by that date to be eligible for VPK (Voluntary Pre-K) that year. Yes, your son will be eligible for VPK next fall (2011), just like my daughter who turns 4 this November (she'll probably be one of the oldest in all of her classes).

I don't know what area you live in, but other daughter just completed VPK at Everglades Academy which is in west Pembroke Pines and we LOVED it. It's run by a mom and her 2 daughters and the teachers are wonderful. My daughter just turned 5 in April and she's already reading, thanks to her VPK teachers.

As for the car seat/booster seat question, I don't know what the law states exactly. For the safest way, keep him in the car seat as long as possible. That said, I just switched my oldest daughter to a booster seat because she reached the limit in height of her surrent car seat (Britax Roundabout). She's 34 pounds.

Hope that helps!



answers from Tallahassee on

Hi there, The VPK is the state paid program and the cutoff is September 1st. So yes he will be able to go next year starting in the fall. (sametime school starts) The hours that are free are from 9am-12pm. Hope this helps.



answers from Tampa on

Question #1 - He has to be 4 on or before September 1st. So Yes, he will go to Pre-K durnig the 2011/2012 school year.

Question #2 - Some boosters start at 30 lbs. The key is that the seat belt has to hit him in the middle between the shoulder and neck. The best kind to get would be one that has a back and not just the little seat part. So, if he is tall, he would be okay. Some boosters start at 40 or 50 pounds, so you have to look for the weight and height limits on them.



answers from Daytona Beach on

if your looking for free vpk (voluntary pre kindergarden) the cut-off is Sept. 1 of the year you are planning on enrolling. which means that you would have to enroll starting (depending on your area) in jan 2011. for instance my son is 4 on july 31 of this year so i enrolled him for this year.

also concernning the car seat. you would also have to go by the height and it depends on the carseat. the boosters are typically 40lbs (doesn't matter what age they are) and they have to be a certain height for the seat belt to fit right. check the car seat that you are wanting to purchase. again my son is almost 4 and he is still not in the booster. and i just put my daughter in the booster bc she was tall enough but not weight wise until just recently. she just turned 6.

also just an fyi-there is a free preschool thru i believe child find for children who are special needs starting at age 2 (i think). my nephew will be 3 in august and he is going to be signing up for preschool thru the public school near him thru the child find.



answers from Seattle on

I'm not sure about your state's preschool, but here we have preschool for all kids after age 2, and free preschool has income limitations. Our state is 40lbs for boosters, google kyledavidmiller to see why you should use a 5point harness as long as possible though. We have the britax frontier which keeps them harnessed to 85lbs! And the britax marathon convertible seat harnesses to 65. Hope that helps somehow!



answers from Orlando on

My daughter weighs 35lbs and is in a booster. Florida doesn't technically have a booster law, but you could still get a ticket for not having your child in one. There are boosters out there for 30lbs and up and there are some for 40lbs. If you want to switch him, just make sure the one you buy is rated for 30lbs.

VPK cut off is Sept 2, 2005- Sept 1, 2006 for this fall. If his birthday is not within that range, he is not eligible for free VPK this year.



answers from Sacramento on

Pre-k requirements will vary depending on the provider, so just call and ask. They're used to these types of questions. Better to find out early, in case you need to get on a waiting list.

As far as boosters, I am pretty sure the youngest requirement now is at 4 years/40 lbs. -- at least, that's what we have in Californa. I've heard it's higher in other states. I would go to your state's website to find out the specifics.



answers from Sarasota on

In Florida a child may go into a booster seat at 4 years old if he or she is also at least 40 lbs. Here are a couple of Web sites that will give you info on FL car seat requirements:

Any child that lives in Florida and turns 4 by September 1 is eligible for the school-year VPK program. Here is a Web site on FL's voluntary prekindergarten (VPK)



answers from Tampa on

Your child qualifies for free VPK the August after he is 4. My son is a month younger than yours... but you can still choose to send this Aug at 3yrs. (if potty trained)- My son & a few of his friends will be going T & TH mornings from 9-12 & it's only $250/mo...

As far as a carseat- He is SO MUCH safer in a carseat vs a booster (for as long as you can keep him in one). My son is 28 lbs & is actually still rear-facing!.His car seat is until he is 50 lbs.

He can be rear facing to 30 lbs & in this seat until 50 lbs! It is not expensive (sold at target) & received really good safety ratings

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