As the children grow and their height and weight increases, the time comes to choose the latest child restraint system available on the market: booster seats. This safety system is designed for children who are not more than 135 cm tall, and therefore are unable to use the rear safety belts properly adjusted.
The main, or at least, the first question is at what age should you install a booster seat and discard the CRS you have been using up to this time. This very doubt is erroneous in itself since the main factor determining when a child changes to a booster seat is not their age but their height. It is the height which determines whether the child can wear a safety belt correctly, and in this way to be sure that he or she is traveling safely.
It's true that as a guideline booster seats can start to be used from about the age of four. Nevertheless, we need to specify that there are different types of booster seat starting with CRS Group 2. These CRSs are visually similar to Group 1 child seats, but they do not have their own harness, since they are designed to be adjusted exclusively using the car's safety belt.
In this way you can place the child at the ideal height for correctly fitting the safety belt. Always remember: the diagonal strap should pass over the collar bone and the shoulder, without touching the neck under any circumstances, and the sash strap should hold the hips and pass over the thighs but never over the stomach. This is very important because a badly adjusted safety belt not only fails to protect but can also be the cause of serious injuries.
From the point of view of child safety, booster seats need to be used until the belt can be properly adjusted, and although the law states that above a height of 135 cm safety belts can be used without a CRS, by far the best way will be to check with each child individually.
In the case of bigger children (6-12 years), booster seats are 45 percent safer than safety belts for adults. You can find out more about the safety of booster seats in our article "Are booster seats safe for children?"
How you will know which booster seat is best for your children
Once beyond Group 1, it will depend on the physical characteristics of your child which seat you choose. The most important thing is for the belt to fit the body correctly, as described previously, so you will have to check the suitability of the different types of seat before choosing the one which it is best to buy. Here is a quick reference guide:
- From 3 to about 6 years and for children weighing between 18 and 25 kg you may install a Group 2 seat (if possible with side support for the head for greater comfort).
- For bigger children there are booster seats with and independent back support on the market known as Group 2-3, for ages between 4 and 12, and with a weight range of about 18 to 36 kg).
- Simple seats, boosters but without a back support, make up Group 3 and are designed for older children, normally between 6 and 11 and weighing 22 to 36 kg.
It is important to emphasize that the decision we make depends entirely on the size of the child. Bigger children will start using the Group 3 seat earlier, while other children will just have to wait a little longer. That means that we should not make the mistake of moving the child onto one of these seats before time.
Finally, it is good practice to be familiar with Finally, it is good practice to be familiar with EU CRS Legislation.