Parents shouldn’t be too ready to jump the gun in terms of switching their children from a typical harness-based car seat to a booster seat designed for older children. When a child is transitioned more quickly than appropriate, they are in danger of sustaining serious injuries in the event of a collision.
Consumer Reports goes into this in greater depth, prompted by recent tests which suggest manufacturers of booster seats might be labeling the units with information that is not be applicable in all situations. They worry that parents heeding the minimum requirements on some seats might be placing their children in a booster seat before the child is ready.
During tests, Consumer Reports identified 28 out of 34 booster seats that suggested a kid could be strapped in if they weighed 30 to 33 pounds. This, though, would be a typical weight posted by kids about two and a half years old, probably too young for a booster. And even when such seats also detailed a minimum age of three, this figure also fails to take into account a lack of maturity that could lead to a driver distractions thanks to a booster seat’s greater degree of freedom.
Instead, the agency recommends that kids be at least 40 pounds before they’re strapped into a booster seat. Typically, this would put the child somewhere in the neighborhood of five years. The organization also recommends opting for a high-backed unit.