When Can a Child Switch to a Regular Seatbelt?

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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 feet 9 inches (about 150 centimeters) tall.

Seatbelts must be worn correctly for them to work properly. 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.

Reviewed by: Mary L. Gavin, MD
Date reviewed: July 2013

Related Resources

OrganizationNational Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) NHTSA is the government agency responsible for ensuring and improving automobile and traffic safety.
OrganizationInsurance Institute for Highway Safety/Highway Loss Data Institute This organization is dedicated to reducing highway crashes, injuries, and deaths. It also offers information on driving-related topics such as airbags, teen drivers, auto accidents, speed laws, and underage drinking.
OrganizationClick It or Ticket Click It or Ticket (CIOT) is the most successful seat belt enforcement campaign ever, helping create the highest national seat belt usage rate of 82 percent.

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Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.

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