Car Seats for Preschoolers

Don’t forget to enter my giveaway for a Graco My Ride 65 Convertible Car Seat!

Preschoolers and young elementary aged children still need to be safely restrained while riding in the car. Although some states only require children to be restrained in car seats through age four, seat belts are really not made for use by children. The American Association of Pediatrics now recommends that children stay in their harnessed car seat until they outgrow the height/weight limitations.

Sydney, age 4 1/3, has a Graco Nautilus. According to the product website, she will be able to be in the harness until she is 65 pounds and 52 inches tall. It then can transition into a high-back booster, which she can stay in until she is 100 pounds and 57 inches. Or, if she was tall enough, she could use it as a backless booster (40-57 inches, 100 pounds).

With our older girls, we allowed them to transition out of their harnessed car seat once they turned four. Belt-positioning boosters have a lower height limit, as well as an age recommendation. I have heard that children should not sit in them until they can sit properly positioned all the time (even when sleeping).

But now that these new recommendations have come out, I am planning to keep Sydney in her harness longer. At 42 inches, she is within the height requirement, and she also weighs more than the 30 pound minimum. But being securely buckled in the harness is still safer. Of course, always check your child’s car seat manual to be sure the seat is correctly installed. A harnessed seat should not move more than one inch in any direction.

Georgia, 7, still sits in her high-back booster most of the time. When she’s riding in another car, she sometimes takes a backless booster, but I like the additional side impact protection that her high-back seat gives her. And when Rich takes the girls to evening Phillies games, the side wings are much better for sleeping!

What kind of car seat does your child use? When do you like to make the transitions?

Don’t forget to enter my giveaway for a Graco My Ride 65 Convertible Car Seat!

Come back the rest of the week to read my series on car seat safety:
Monday: Why I’m a Car Seat Fanatic
Tuesday: Infant Car Seats
Wednesday: Tips for Toddler Car Seat Safety
Thursday: Car Seats for Preschoolers
Friday: Car Safety for Older Kids

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