When Can a Child Switch to a Regular Seatbelt?
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 with their feet touching the floor.
- The lap belt fits comfortably across the upper thighs and hips (not the stomach).
- The shoulder strap goes across the chest and shoulder, never beneath a child's arm, behind their back, or across their neck.
- They can sit safely for the entire ride without slouching or leaning.
Usually, this happens when kids are between 8 and 12 years old and around 4 feet 9 inches (about 150 centimeters) tall.
The AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics) recommends that kids younger than 13 years old always ride in the back seat.
Continue to use a booster seat if your child cannot sit properly or wear the seatbelt correctly.