How can you tell when your child is ready to graduate to a booster seat? The answer depends on the size of your child and Canadian law. These tips should help you decide if your child is ready for that next step.
Your child’s size
As a rule of thumb, babies and toddlers up until the age of three or four should ride in the back seat in a car seat.
After that age, if your child still fits into a car seat, it’s best to continue using one. The five-point harness will keep them safer than a booster seat used with your car’s seat belts. It’s worth noting that by the age of three or four, children can start to become more independent and some may resent their car seat.
If your child’s head reaches above the top of the car seat and/or his or her legs have grown too long to sit comfortably in it, you might want to consider a booster seat.
Each Canadian province has laws and regulations concerning the use of car and booster seats.
For example, in Ontario, children must be in car seats until they weigh at least 9 kilograms. Once they reach 18 kilograms they should be moved into a booster seat. In Manitoba, children must ride in a car seat until they weigh at least 23 kg and are 5 years old. Check your province’s requirements before you buy a booster seat.
Laws may also impact your choice of a booster seat. Under Canadian law, if you use a low back booster seat, your car must have adjustable head rests.
Booster seats are available in a range of styles, colours and prices. Make sure you shop with your child and let him or her test drive a range of seats to determine which one is most comfortable. Involving them in the choice will make the transition to a booster seat easier.
The decision to move your child from a car seat to a booster seat is a question of their size, comfort level and the law. Let your child participate in the choice of a booster seat and chances are he or she will be more willing to cooperate.