Use car seats with harnesses to the top weight or height limits of the harnesses. Once children outgrow harnesses, use a booster seat in the back seat until the seat belt fits properly (use the safety belt fit test to be sure). A booster seat is often needed until a child is around 4 feet 9 inches tall. Your child may be about 12 years old before he/she is ready for a seat belt.
Booster seat weight and height ranges
vary greatly. Read labels to determine the correct seat for age, weight, and height.
High-back and no-back boosters
Both are available. High-back boosters are useful in vehicles that do not have head restraints or have low seat backs. Backless boosters are usually less expensive and are easier to move from vehicle to vehicle. Backless boosters can be safely used in vehicles with head rests and high seat backs.
Many high-back boosters
are actually combination seats. They come with harnesses that can be used for smaller children and can then be removed for older children.
READ the instruction manual
AND the safety belt/seat section in your vehicle manual.
Children should always
ride in the back seat until age 13.
Lap and shoulder belts
are required with booster seats. If you have only lap belts in your car, there are some alternatives, including having shoulder belts installed in your vehicle, using a safety seat with a harness system that goes up to high weights (e.g., 85 lbs.), or using a travel vest (see a list of some available vests).