Myth: Once my child “passes” the 5-step test, they are done with boosters once and for all.
This myth comes straight out of my vast repertoire of personal experience as a mom of four. This past Friday, I was recruited to drive my husband out of town for work. While typically we would pile into the family minivan, it was a gorgeous Arizona day and I decided to take my 18 year old son’s little 5-speed Mazda. Kyle’s little Mazda is great on gas and he has been safely transporting his 11 year old brother without a booster for the last few months, despite Aiden still needing a booster in our Odyssey. As I reached the front door, I paused for a moment while Aiden’s old Paul Frank Clek Olli caught my eye over in the corner of the livingroom. Should I…Should I not? It seems like just yesterday that Kecia outlined the 5-Step Test, using my oldest son Kyle as one of her models. Let’s do a quick review…
Check…Check…Check…Check…Ut-oh. While Aiden had been on some great adventures within our lakeside HOA community, his travels in the little Mazda had thus far been limited to a few miles here or there. As I headed out the door for a two hour trek from Phoenix into Pinal County, I grabbed the trusty Clek Olli. In the minutes prior to arriving at our destination, a black cloud approached that would eventually result in one of the worst dust storms I have ever driven in. Returning home with two sleeping kids, with highway visibility sometimes limited to 20 or 30 feet and in winds that were clocked at up to 60 miles per hour, I was confident in my decision to re-booster Aiden. Because Aiden was never promoted to an adult seatbelt, returning to his booster didn’t seem like a demotion, either.
CONFIRMED, PLAUSIBLE, or BUSTED? I think that we can safely say that this myth is BUSTED. While your child may pass all five steps under certain conditions, longer drives, different cars, or other circumstances can change. And even though Aiden fits into the little Mazda seatbelt well, there’s no harm in him continuing to use an appropriately-fitting booster at this point.