The National Highway Safety Transportation Administration’s (NHSTA) guidelines require some children to remain in a booster seat until age 12!
The recommended standards are as follows:
Birth – 12 months: Children should always be in a rear facing car seat.
1 – 3 years of age: Children should remain rear facing as long as possible. Your child should not be turned around front facing until he/she reaches the top height or weight limit allowed by the car seat’s manufacturer. Once your child can be moved forward facing, he/she can transition to the forward facing car seat with harness or tether.
4-7 years of age: Your child should remain in the forward facing harness or tether car seat until he/she achieves the top of the height or weight limit allowed by the seat manufacturer, but once your child reaches that milestone he/she can transition to the booster seat positioned in the back seat of your automobile.
8-12 years of age: It is recommended to keep your child in a booster seat until he/she is tall enough to fit a car seat belt properly. To be sufficient, the seat belt lap much be snug over the upper thighs and not the stomach and the shoulder belt need lie across the shoulder and chest and importantly not over the child’s neck or face.
Importantly, don’t forget that all children are to remain in the back seat until at least age 13.