Correct Age for a Child to Be Out of a Booster Seat

Updated on October 27, 2010
K.J. asks from Warrenton, VA
8 answers

I have a 71/2 year old who is currently in a booster seat. She is not even 60 pounds yet. What is the current laws as far as when they dont have to be in a booster seat anymore. Alot of her friends are not in one and I think they should be. She will be 8 in January.

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Thank you so much for the information. If VA is by age than she can be out at the age of 8. She will be very excited to hear the news.

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answers from Oklahoma City on

I just googled car seat laws for VA and found that children have to be in booster until their 8th birthday (so thru the age of 7). It is strictly by age, not weight or height. After 8, seatbelts are required. And you are right, the others should be. I see so many kids here not even buckled up and it makes me very sad. Good luck!! Just a couple of more months.

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answers from Chicago on

You need to look at how the seat belt fits your daughter and go by that. We have 2 different cars and in one car my 7 1/2 year old does not need the booster and it actually makes the seatbelt fit in the wrong place.

In the other car she still needs it, because the seat belt doesn't fit her right and cuts into her neck. One car has seats that are deeper and the belts are aligned differently.

It all depends on how it fits. My nephew was huge at age 6 and the law said 8 years old, but there was no way he was going to fit into a booster seat and it would have been more dangerous for him if they did put him in one. He is 6 feet tall now at age 12.

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answers from Houston on

Im paying close attention to this chat because my daughter is up to my shoulders, past actually, and she is 7 1/2, i dont feel as if she needs a booster seat, and actually looks silly in one the seat belt is in all the wrong places, but w/o one its fine. I hate how laws like this cant be examined on a case by case, but i guess its impossible. I DO NOT put my daugher in a booster, it looks bad to me.

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answers from Johnstown on

There is an add on tv that say's kids should be in a booster until they are
4'9" tall. My son is almost 7, and does have friends that aren't in booters, but I'd say if she is under 4'9", keep her in her booster seat.



answers from Boise on

It is more of a size thing than an age thing. I remember still having a booster seat at 11 because it helped me see out the window and placed the seatbelt better.


answers from Dover on

Every state has their own law but regardless of the law, there is also what is called "best practice". What is legal and what is best are not synomonous. Laws are the MINIMUM that is required, best practice is safest.

Example, the law may say that a child needs to be in some kind of a child restrainst seat according to manufacturer's specifications and my 3 yr old could be in a small booster seat when she was only 35 lbs as long as the seat was rated for 35 lbs. She was not big enough or mature enough in my opinion so she remained in her carseat (rated for 40 lbs). Best practices says at least 40 lbs or 43" (typically 4 yrs old) before they move to a booster. She did have to move to a high-back belt-positioning booster in my husband's truck because his carseat was rated to 35 lbs (exceeding height/weight restrictions is dangerous).

For moving out of booster seats, I believe that best practice is a minimum of 65 lb or 4'9" (usually around age 8) but if your booster seat has not passed its expiration date and is rated above 65 lbs (some are rated to 80-100 lbs) then it is always best to allow them to continue to use until they reach both the pounds and height maximums that the seat is rated for. Once you move them from the booster seat, the knee should bend at the bend of the car's seat and the seat belt should fit properly (if it doesn't, she is not big enough to safely go without a booster seat).

I found this link for you so you don't have to take my word. It is for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration:



answers from Boston on

You need to check your state. In MA they recently changed it to 8 yrs old or 4'9 but actual age and height has nothing to do with it. It is safe for your child to be without a booster when the seat belt goes across the child's shoulder and lap belt fits low on the hips, the child can sit with his/her bottom all the way to the back of the seat and the knees bend at the edge of seat and not just dangle, they are mature enough to sit properly (not hunched over, not w/ the shoulder belt under the arm, etc)

It should not matter what her friends are doing you aren't their mother just worry about keeping her safe.



answers from Dallas on

Google it for your state. In Texas you have to be in a booster through age 8 or if you meet the height and weight requirement. But I forget what it is, but i remember my daughter didn't even come close to the height/weight requirement. So its booster for her until she turns 9!

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