When we put a child in a restraint system in the next group up, after having been in a CRS with a five-point harness, we often have a series of concerns. We are not sure which option to take going forward. Is it time for the child to just use the seat belt or perhaps they should be using a booster seat with or without a backrest?
As a neutral option, we have the seat belt adjusters for children. This type of system is designed to help prevent positioning the seat belt incorrectly. It basically consists of guides which, up to a point, route the seat belt through the correct path. So where should it go? As we have seen on other occasions, the seat belt has two belts: the shoulder belt and the lap belt. Each belt should be properly adjusted and the seat belt should fit tightly in order to be effective. It the seat belt is loose it is a safety risk.
Therefore, any seat belt adjuster which causes the seat belt to fit loosely is not recommended and should be avoided. However, adjusters which help keep the seat belt in place and also hold it tightly are safe to use, as long as they are approved by the safety standards. We are dealing with adjusters similar to the ones which pregnant women use.
In the case of children, it is the same as for pregnant women: the adjusters must fulfill a series of safety requirements (which are approved in accordance with the ECE R16 and ECE R14 safety standards for seat belts and their anchorage to vehicles), and it is always a good idea to look for devices that have been tested and reviewed and to purchase brands which have received good reviews.
For children of this age and this size who we are planning to put in a booster seat, the best option is to look for a booster seat with a backrest. These car seats, approved and complying with all the safety requirements, have seat belt adjusters incorporated into the design. These are guides which allow parents to adjust the seat belt so that the shoulder belt does not go over the child's neck and is positioned exactly where it should be, so that the child will travel completely safely. This is undoubtedly the best way of avoiding problems and concerns.