Rachel is 8 years old.
By law, in Ontario, she is old enough to ride without a booster.
Ontario Law states that a person can ride without a booster seat when they are:
over 8 years old
over 4’9″ tall
weighs more than 80lbs
The Law is just a minimum!
A booster seat is required to make the vehicle’s seat belt fit properly.
Why should there be any law stating when you should stop using it?
A child needs a booster until you can answer “YES” to the 5 Step Test questions below…
- Does the child sit all the way back against the auto seat?
- Do the child’s knees bend comfortably at the edge of the auto seat?
- Does the belt cross the shoulder between the neck and arm?
- Is the lap belt as low as possible, touching the thighs?
- Can the child stay seated like this for the whole trip?
When we tested 8-year-old Rachel, the answer was NO to all 5 questions….
You can see in the photos that without a booster, Rachel does not fit in the seat belt.
- She CANNOT sit all the way back against the auto seat.
- Her knees DO NOT bend comfortably at the edge of the auto seat.
- The belt DOES NOT cross the shoulder between the neck and arm.
- The lap belt is TOO HIGH. It sits across her stomach.
- There is NO WAY that she would stay seated like this for the whole trip.
When doing the test, Rachel even commented herself how uncomfortable the seat belt was across her neck.
Educating Rachel about the safety of the seat belt and using is properly is very important. She will get questioned by her peers and now she has the confidence to say why she uses the booster!
The AAP is recommending that parents keep their children in a booster until they have hit 4’9″ tall and meet the 5-step criteria. “[A] booster will make sure the vehicle’s lap-and-shoulder belt fit properly. The shoulder belt should lie across the middle of the chest and shoulder, not near the neck or face. The lap belt should fit low and snug on the hips and upper thighs, not across the belly. Most children will need a booster seat until they have reached 4 feet 9 inches tall and are between 8 and 12 years old.” AAP – 3/12/2010
If you have any questions, please comment below!!
Please note: I am a certified Child Restraint Technician in Ontario, Canada. Please check your local laws about car seats and always read your vehicle owner’s manual and car seat manual before installing your child seats.
This data will be updated as required.