My son is 11 and 77 lbs. He’s also 5’ tall, taller than some women (and his teacher)! We had a 2005 Toyota Sienna until January that he never seemed to fit well in. I talked about how he didn’t fit and included a picture in this blog post on how to tell if your kid still needs a booster. In January, we bought a new vehicle and he fit differently in the back seat than he did in the Sienna. Yay! He could ride without a booster! How exciting. I didn’t particularly care: he appeared to fit in the seatbelt OK and that’s all that mattered. However, I couldn’t see him in my rear-view mirror anymore and that drove me crazy. I could hear him doing things, but couldn’t see what was up and had to rely upon my dd to tattle on him—“E, what’s your brother doing? E, is he sitting up straight? E, what was that sound he just made?” All as if he existed in a vacuum and couldn’t hear me.
When I allowed dh to drive *my* new car, I’d watch ds out of the corner of my eye and see him slide down in the seat bit by bit. Uh oh. Even though he fit OK in the seatbelt, he was slouching for some reason, probably because he’s 11. I’d nag and he’d sit back up straight for a few minutes. I’d threaten to put him back in a booster and he’d moan that he didn’t need one and he’d sit up straight from now on. One day I really looked at where the belt was fitting on him and made good on my threat to put him back in the booster. The next morning on the rush to get to school, he opened the car door and there it was: the familiar green booster. “MOM!”
Surprisingly, after I said that I didn’t like the belt fit on his hips and asked him if the belt fit was better in the booster, he agreed and hasn’t made a peep since. He really has always been my safety kid and understands being safe—following in mom’s footsteps [so proud!]. Better belt fit means much less chance of injury in a crash. I’m not going to freak and make him ride in a booster in his friends’ parents’ vehicles where his friends have been without boosters for years now, but in our vehicles where he rides 99.5% of the time, he’s riding the safest he can.