When can you stop using a booster seat?

When Can My Child Use A Seat Belt Alone?
Child should be at least 8 years old or 4'9" tall, and pass the 5 step test below to use only the seat belt.

  • Child is able to sit all the way back in the vehicle seat
  • Their knees bend comfortably at the edge and their feet are flat on the floor
  • Shoulder belt fits comfortably across their torso, and crosses the collarbone. It should NOT cut into your child’s neck or face
  • Lap belt fits low on the hips and at the top of the thighs
  • Child can stay seated like this, comfortable for the whole ride

Other tips:

  • Select a car seat based on your child’s age and size, then choose a seat that fits in your vehicle, and use it every time.
  • Always refer to your specific car seat manufacturer’s instructions (check height and weight limits) and read the vehicle owner’s manual on how to install the car seat using the seat belt or lower anchors and a tether, if available.
  • To maximize safety, keep your child in a car seat for as long as possible, as long as the child fits within the manufacturer’s height and weight requirements.
  • Keep your child in a booster seat until he or she is big enough to fit in a seat belt properly. For a seat belt to fit properly the lap belt must lie snugly across the upper thighs, not the stomach. The shoulder belt should lie snugly across the shoulder and chest and not cross the neck or face.
  • Keep your child in the back seat at least through age 12 because it’s safer there.

*Image credit: The Car Seat Lady