Children's Hospital Colorado

Booster Seat Safety Tips

A girl with blonde hair in a ponytail sits in a lime green booster seat with a seatbelt across her shoulder inside a car with gray interior

Take our "5-Step Test" to determine if your child is ready to give up the booster seat.

Colorado's child car seat law states that all children under age 8 must be in a car or booster seat.

Safest booster seat use for your child

Once your child outgrows her convertible or forward facing car seat, she will be safest in a booster seat. She will need to sit in a booster seat until she is approximately 57" tall and can achieve proper seat belt fit. In many cases, this means children older than 8 are still safer in a booster seat.

Children's Colorado recommends you take our 5-Step Test to determine if your child is ready to give up the booster seat.

1. Does your child sit all the way back against the auto seat?

2. Do your child's knees bend comfortably at the edge of the auto seat?

3. Does the belt cross the shoulder between the neck and arm?

4. Is the lap belt as low as possible, touching the thighs?

5. Can your child stay seated like this for the whole trip?

If you answered "no" to any of these questions, your child needs a booster seat. A booster seat will help the shoulder lap belt fit properly and will offer the best crash protection. Your child will be more comfortable, too!

Note: If your car does not have shoulder belts in the back seat, you cannot use a booster seat. Instead, you'll need to use a five-point harness seat with top tether. This is also a safer choice for very active children or those under the age of 4.

For the best possible protection, all children should ride in the back seat until they are 13 years old. It's twice as safe as the front seat.

Tips for keeping your child in her booster

1. Let your child help pick out her booster seat.

Some include cup-holders, arm rests and other cool features that will make it more fun for your child.

2. Some children may feel they are “too old” to still be using a booster seat. Check out Children’s Colorado’s ideas on how to talk with your child about the need for a booster seat:

  • “I love you, and I want you to always be safe. I do not ever want you to get hurt.”
  • "Dr. (insert pediatrician name here) says that you need to be in your booster seat and don’t we always follow our doctor's orders?"
  • "When your knees bend at the edge of the back seat, you can safely sit there without a booster." Take her to a local fire, police or car seat inspection station. Hearing the rule from an authoritative 3rd party will shift the responsibility off of you.
  • Point out the better view and give your child special booster privileges, such as picking the radio station.
  • "Because mommy says so." Don't negotiate; your child is safest in booster. Once they know you won't budge, they'll stop negotiating.

Answers in your inbox

Expert advice delivered directly to you. Get weekly tips