Many parents are wondering about booster seat requirements. They are very important because they ensure that a child’s seat belt passes properly across the neck, chest, and throat. The federal government has set the maximum weight and height limits for children in car seats, but these limits vary by state. Here is a look at the federal booster seat requirements for your child. Also, keep in mind that booster seats are not required for children under eight years old.
Federal law requires children to use a child restraint system for vehicles. If you’re driving, you’ll need a booster seat
Depending on the state you live in, the law may require that the child be at least five years old. Booster seat requirements vary by state, but they should be installed at least a year before your child turns six.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, your child needs to be at least 35 inches tall before they can use a booster seat. This means that the child’s height is at least equal to the child’s weight, so it’s safe to switch them to the booster. Once they reach this height, it is best to switch them to the front-facing seat in the car.
While many states don’t have specific booster seat requirements, you should always make sure your child’s seat belt fits properly. Whether you need a booster or not depends on the state and the age and weight of your child. Having the proper booster seat is the best way to protect the child in the event of an accident.
You may opt for a convertible car seat designed to grow with your child. The convertible child car seat minimizes the need to purchase brand new equipment each time your child grows past a certain height or weight.
Using a high-back booster is recommended for children who are between thirty and forty pounds. A high-back booster will provide the proper fit for the belt. If A child is between thirty and forty pounds, it’s safer to switch to a booster at this age. If the child is over 40 Lbs., they may start wearing a seatbelt.
Hawaii Infant Car Seats & Booster Seat Requirements
Hawaii law requires children under the age of four to ride in a child safety seat and children ages of four through seven to ride in a child safety seat or a booster seat when traveling in a motor vehicle.
Drivers in Hawaii will be held responsible for compliance with the law. Violators are required to attend a 4-hour class and may be assessed a fine of up to $500.
A Hawaii state tax credit of $25 per year may be applied to the purchase of a booster or child safety seat.
Child Safety Seats
• Children under the age of four are required to ride in a child safety seat when riding in a motor vehicle.
• Review installation instructions accompanying the car seat.
• Select an appropriate seat that best fits your child and your vehicle.
• Children’s safety seats and boosters should be buckled up in the back seat, as it has been proven to be the safest place in the vehicle.
• Never put a rear-facing seat in the front seat of a vehicle that has active front-passenger airbags.
• Children should be kept rear-facing until the height or weight maximum is reached.
• The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends children ride rear-facing until the age of two.
• Always ensure that harness straps are snug, and that child is securely buckled up.
• Children ages four through seven are required to ride in a child safety seat or a booster seat.
• There are child safety seats with harnesses rated up to 80 pounds for vehicles equipped with lap-only belts.
• Booster seats should be used until the lap and shoulder belts fit correctly. The lap belt should fit low and snug on the hips, and the shoulder strap should not cross over the face or neck.
• Never place the shoulder belt behind the child’s back or under the arm.
• A child that cannot sit with his or her back against the seatback cushion with knees bent over the vehicle’s seat edge without slouching should continue to use a booster seat regardless of age, weight, or height.
Types of Seats
Rear-Facing Seat – Infants from birth to at least one year old and at least twenty pounds must ride in rear-facing seats. However, it is recommended that infants be kept rear-facing in the back seat up to the height or weight limit of the seat. Some seats are available with rear-facing limits as high as 45 pounds.
Convertible Seat – Convertible seats can be used rear-facing, then converted to forward-facing. The seats can be used longer since the height and weight limits are higher than infant-only seats.
Forward-Facing Seat – Children that have outgrown their rear-facing seats or that are at least one year old, and twenty pounds should ride forward-facing in the back seat until age four.
Booster Seat – Children that are four through seven years of age should ride in booster seats in the back seat until the vehicle seat belts fit properly.
For more information on child passenger safety and for information on child safety seat inspection sites, please visit the Keiki Injury Prevention Coalition website at www.kipchawaii.org. Another resource on child safety seats is Safetybelt Safe’s website www.carseat.org or click here for a Birth to Boosters informational brochure.