Q. My son is 8 years old and weighs 65 pounds. Many of his friends are riding in the car without booster seats, and now he wants to stop using his. When is the right time to pull the booster seat?
Car seat safety can be a confusing topic for parents, in part because state laws often differ from American Academy of Pediatrics recommendations.
For example, North Carolina law states that a child is required to ride in a booster seat until the age of 8 years or 80 pounds, whichever comes first. In contrast, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children ride in booster seats until they reach a height of 4 feet 9 inches, because this is when a standard seat belt will fit properly. An average child will not reach this height until around age 11.
According to buckleupnc.org, N.C. child passenger safety laws should be considered minimum standards. As a pediatrician, I recommend that my patients follow the more conservative AAP guidelines and continue to ride in a booster until they reach 4 feet 9 inches.
For more information about child car seat safety and guidelines, visit healthychildren.org.
Rhonda Patt is a pediatrician with Charlotte Pediatric Clinic. Email firstname.lastname@example.org; put pediatrician in the subject line.
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