Transitioning to Using a Seat Belt Without a Booster Seat

Before children are ready to sit in the back seat without their booster seat, certain conditions must be met.

How to properly secure children using a seat belt

  • Their backs must be flat against the seat's backrest.
  • Their legs must be long enough that their knees are bent over the edge of the seat.
  • The seat belt must cross over the collarbone (the shoulder), not over the neck.
  • The seat belt must cross over the hips (pelvis), not over the abdomen.

This will help prevent children from sustaining serious injuries in the event of sudden braking or a collision, because the bones in the shoulders and hips are those best able to absorb the impact.

Children who are not tall enough and whose legs are too short 

Children whose legs are too short will tend to slide under the seat belt to get comfortable. In that position, the seat belt presses against their necks and stomachs, which could lead to serious injuries to the spine or internal organs in the event of an accident.

Children who cannot use a seat belt safely

They should continue to use a booster seat suited to their weight and height, even if they are 145 cm tall or 9 years old. Children who tend to fall asleep and end up with their head resting on the door, for example, fall into this category.

Children aged 12 or younger: in the back seat!

Children aged 12 or younger should always sit in the vehicle's back seat. This is the safest place for them because of their size and the risks associated with their behaviour (moving around in their seat or leaning over to play with the dashboard control buttons, for example), but primarily because of their fragile skeletal system.

Airbags are proven, effective safety devices. However, deployment of the front airbag may result in injuries if a person is sitting too close to it. Children at risk of being in the front airbag’s deployment zone may sustain serious injuries due to their fragile skeletal system.

If you have no choice but to place a child in the front seat, you must do the following two things beforehand:

  • Push the passenger seat all the way back so that the child is as far away as possible from the dashboard

Last update: July 19, 2023