I wonder, by the time Claire turns 8 (more than 5 years from now), how many car seats we will have purchased for her and any future children. There’s the infant carrier and then we needed two car seats, one for each car since Boris drops Claire off at day care and I pick up. (Will we need 4 car seats when we have another child? Ughh!)
So we hear the “8 & 80” thing all the time. (If you have not, it refers to the time at which your child does not need to be in any type of car seat/booster anymore.). But is is it “8 OR 80” or “8 AND 80”??? (Take a guess before you read further so you can see if you were right.)
A few weeks ago I talked about the NC Car Seat Laws. I turned to my same resource, Buckle Up NC for the answer to this question. The short answer is “8 OR 80”, meaning: if your child is 8 years old OR 80 pounds they can leave the booster seat behind and be buckled in just a safety belt. They do have some disclaimers to that though so I have included their entire answer below.
“The issue of who is required to be in a child restraint or booster seat and who can legally use just the vehicle safety belt can be confusing. The answer lies in which question is being asked:
Q: Is my child required to be in a booster seat or other child restraint? A: Children who are both less than age 8 AND less than 80 pounds are required to be in some type of child restraint. “Some type of child restraint” includes booster seats.
Q: When can I switch my child to just a safety belt without a booster seat? A: When a child reaches age 8 (regardless of weight) OR reaches 80 pounds (regardless of age), a properly fitted safety belt may be used instead of a child restraint/booster to restrain the child. Note, however, that placing the shoulder belt under a child’s (or adult’s) arm or behind the back is both dangerous and illegal. Also note, however, that a child who has reached 40 pounds, regardless of age, may be restrained by just a properly fitted lap belt if there is not a lap and shoulder belt equipped seating position available. There are no booster seats currently on the market that can be used with just a lap belt. WARNING: Belt-positioning booster seats must NEVER be used with just a lap belt. Belt-positioning booster seats can only be used with lap and shoulder safety belts.”