When to Switch to Backless Booster?
Welcome to our guide on when to switch to backless booster.
Choosing the right time to get a booster seat is still a paradox for many parents. Some believe that it should be started as early as possible, while others assume that it needs to be set up once the child reaches an appropriate age.
So, when exactly should you use a booster seat for your car? The answer is simple-
- When your child has surpassed the height and weight limits for a harness vehicle seat
- If your child is mature enough to handle a belt-positioning booster seat
When to Switch to Backless Booster?
Backless Booster – Are They Safe?
When it comes to safety, a booster seat ticks most of the boxes. Booster car seats are designed in such a way that they can shield the children through a lap and a shoulder belt.
A lap belt is meant to be placed against the child’s hips, while the shoulder belt should be placed between the shoulders. Both the shoulder and the lap belt maintain the correct positioning of the child so that he/she can sit without feeling uncomfortable.
Moreover, backless booster car seats tend to generate a more suitable lap belt fit as well as a shoulder belt fit than the high-back booster seats. But accurate positioning does not always guarantee maximum safety.
While a backless car seat can be a convenient choice for children, research suggests that booster seats without a back may be less effective in protecting against side-impact crashes compared to high-back seats.
A high-back vehicle seat is usually equipped with padded wings on the side, which help prevent side car crash injuries. Since booster seats without a back lack these wings, they are unable to protect children against such impacts.
Moreover, backless boosters are devoid of head support. So, they are not going to be an ideal choice for cars that do not have headrests. Without a head restraint to cover the child’s head, the booster seat safety cannot be foolproof.
However, properly restrained backless seats are still good enough to provide protection to the child’s lap and lower body.
When to Switch to a Backless Booster Seat?
Parents usually make a mistake by hastening to put a child in a booster seat without observing if the child is mature enough to handle it.
It should be kept in mind that most car models come with special instructions on the height and weight borderlines for children to use without a harness.
Parents have a misconception that only sticking to a weight limit is fine to switch from a rear car seat to a forward-facing car seat. However, the child’s height should be given equal importance in this case.
A booster seat should only be installed once the child has reached the appropriate height and weight recommended by the vehicle owner’s manual. Another important factor to consider is the level of maturity and activity of the child.
Younger children are usually more active and playful, and they lack a sense of maturity compared to older children. A sporty child generally tends to be restless in a car seat and can be seen shoving the lap and shoulder belts.
As a result, the booster seat becomes useless for children like this. Instead of backless boosters, sticking to the previous harness slots are suitable for such children.
Hence, booster seats should only be installed in cars for children who are capable enough to use them carefully.
Backless Booster Seat Requirements
A child’s body goes through a lot of changes as he grows up. These changes help decide whether the child is suited for a rear-facing car seat, a forward-facing seat, a high-back booster seat, or a backless car seat.
Usually, children who are too small for an adult seat but too big for a five-point harness require a booster seat. Although there are different types of booster seats, a high-back booster seat and a backless seat are the most popular ones out there.
So, what are the booster seat requirements for backless ones?
Backless seats are common among parents who are always on the go and need something lightweight and portable for their vehicle. Since these seats are easy to carry, they are effortless to travel with and are, therefore the first choice among parents.
Let’s have a quick look at some of the requirements for most booster seats –
Child’s Age Requirements
Once a child reaches the age of 8-12 years with the appropriate height or weight limit for that respective age, using a booster seat becomes safe.
Child’s Weight Requirements
Generally, the recommended weight range for boosters is approximately 30 pounds. But the height should be kept in mind here as well.
Child’s Height Requirements
Children who are at least 4’9” should stick to a booster seat, preferably backless or high-back boosters. Once they grow from this height, they may be able to use an adult seat belt carefully.
|Booster Seat Type
|High-Back Booster Seat
|High-Back or Backless Booster Seat
|Seat Belt Only
Regulations Regarding Backless Booster Seats
Regulations regarding booster vehicle seats keep changing from one country to another. Here are a few regulations that need to be strictly followed in the US and UK.
According to US guidelines, children aged from 8-12 years should continue using a booster seat until they’re capable of using a seat belt alone.
It must be made sure that the seat belt fits correctly, and the child’s ears should lie below the top of the headrest, regardless of the car seat type.
According to UK guidelines, children under 12 years and 135 cm in height should continue using child seats. Any child above 12 years or more than 135 cm in height should use seat belts.
It must be made sure that the seat belt fits properly, and preferably a latch system should be present to hold the seat in position. In the UK, only EU-approved height and weight-based seats with seat belts can be installed.
A child car seat can only be used if the seat is oriented to be used with a child restraint or a lap and shoulder seat belt.
Wrapping up the discussion, it is evident that backless booster seats are an important thing to consider when your child starts to show signs of maturity.
With the help of a booster car seat, your child can have a comfortable ride every time they’re traveling. So, make sure you follow all the necessary booster seat safety tips before installing them on your back seat.
Last Updated on November 5, 2023 by Brian Beasley