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When Can a Child Switch to a Regular Seatbelt?

When can my child make the switch from a booster seat to using a regular seatbelt?
Tony

Kids can start wearing a regular seatbelt when they can easily rest their back against the seat of the car and bend their knees over the edge of the seat. Usually, this happens when kids are between 8 and 12 years old and around 4' 9" tall.

Make sure the lap belt fits comfortably across the thighs (not the stomach) and that your child is not slouching. The shoulder strap should go across the chest and shoulder, and never goes beneath a child's arm, behind the back, or across the neck. Seatbelts must be worn correctly for them to work properly.

Reviewed by: Steven Dowshen, MD
Date reviewed: February 2010

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