When can my child use a high back booster?

My daughter uses a Graco Nautilus 3 in 1 car seat and has just now figured out that she can unbuckle it by herself. We have only had one episode when she did it while the car was moving, but I'm wondering if I should switch her to using the high back booster with the regular sholder strap seat belt.

The sticker on the side of the seat says that the child must be at least 3yr old, 30lbs, and 38" tall. My daughter is almost 4, 34.6lbs and 39" tall.

Technically, she is big enough, but is it safe when she is this young?

I'm just curious about when everyone else generally puts their child in a high back booster and what are some of the pros and cons.

5 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    4 yrs, 40 lbs, and there's no point in having that particular seat if you're not going to use the harness to 65 lbs--that's the whole point in buying the seat.

    It's just not as safe to be in a booster vs. a harness. Seat belts are only so effective. Harnesses work every time. At nearly four, she's old enough to be yelled at, given time outs, punished for unbuckling herself when the car is moving.

    Don't switch her until she outgrows the harness, as the harness is safest. If you have the means already in place to keep her harnessed, then keep her harnessed.

    She needs to be taught not to unbuckle herself--if she can unbuckle the harness, she can DEFINITELY unbuckle a seat belt much easier. Plus, there's a higher likelihood that she won't be sitting in it correctly and a higher likelihood that she'd be injured during a crash. Do yourself and her a favor and keep her in the harness and give her the ownership--let her buckle and unbuckle herself at the appropriate times so the novelty of being able to do it wears off and she does it when she's supposed to do it. If she unbuckles when you're driving, you pull over and refuse to drive until she is buckled.

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  • 1 decade ago

    If she is able to unbuckle her chest clip in her car seat now, she most likely can lean down and unbuckle her seat belt if she's in a booster/shoulder belt seat. She'd also easily be able to just slip the shoulder belt off if she didn't want to be restrained. It might be easier, at her age, to work on teaching her why she needs to leave herself buckled up and figure out if she's unbuckling herself because she's uncomfortable or bored.

    She should be more or less safe in a booster with a shoulder belt when she fits and will leave the belt alone, but she is exponentially safer in a 5 point harness. If you think that her car seat is just uncomfortable right now and she's getting too big for it, know that you can get a high backed booster that also allows 5 point harness use.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Where I live the general rule is they must be 3 years old, 40-80lbs and around 40inches tall to use a booster seat. They need to stay in this booster seat until they are atleast 4 ft 9 inches tall and weighing 80lbs.

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  • 1 decade ago

    My daughter will be 4 at the end of March. She is 38 lbs and 43" tall. We have been using the booster for quite awhile now. I do love the safety factor of the harness system, though. I admit that I switched to the booster because we exchange it between cars somewhat often, and it is so easy to do so.

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  • 1 decade ago

    she MUST be 40 lbs. before you make the switch. it is very unsafe otherwise. for now, if she unbuckles herself while the car is moving, pull over and stop the car ASAP, and say calmly, "we can go when you are buckled in." don't say anything else, just wait until she buckles herself again. (i am assuming that if she can unbuckle herself...she can buckle herself.) also, many high back booster seats include 5 point harnesses.


    good luck!

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