Yes, My 6.5 Year Old is Still in a 5pt Harness


Miss H is still in a harnessed booster. I don’t know why this is surprising for some, but it is.

Heck, she rear faced until she was 5! Mostly because I could get drive-thru ice cream or coffee and they’d never be the wiser so I didn’t have to share, and it was also more comfortable for sleeping on long car rides, but still.

We did flip Mr. B to forward facing shortly after Miss H got flipped. We made him hold out until age 4, but he definitely was not at his seat’s height and weight capacities . In fact, he could still be rear facing now, at over 5, if I wanted. But alas.

I’ve done some field trip transportation for other kids in H’s class and every time they ask her why she’s still in a car seat. She freezes and I pipe in “Because her momma makes her” and they let it go. A few quip that they don’t even have to ride in a booster in their own cars, and I bite my tongue about the law and simply say, “different parents, different rules.”

The thing is, she meets the safety requirements for being in a high back booster. She even meets the “best practice” requirements. She’s a minimum of 6 years old. She weighs more than 40 pounds (barely), and she is mature enough to sit properly without messing with the shoulder strap.

So why do we insist on keeping her in a 5 point harness?


It’s safer.

And she still fits.

And mostly, because she can do the buckles on her 5 point harness but she cannot properly buckle herself in with a seat belt. She and B having the ability to buckle and unbuckle themselves properly is phenomenal. All I have to do is verify that their chest clips are in the proper location, which 9 times out of 10, they are.

It’s easier for her to be in 5 point harness.

Also, we travel a lot. Which means she frequently sleeps in the car. As amazing and mature as she is, I don’t feel she could sleep in a high back booster with the seat belt and shoulder strap remaining in the correct positions. In her 5 point harness I don’t have to worry about those things on long road trips. I know she’s as optimally safe as possible.

She doesn’t want to be in a 5 point harness any longer. And I get it. None of her friends are.

But I’m not their mother. I’m hers. And I must do what I know to be best and safest for her.

Plus, her papa is an engineer. He’s a big science and math nerd. He understands physics. One of the reasons our babies rear face so long and will remain in a harness longer after its “cool.” We are in no hurry to make them less safe, even if it might be the social norm.

I believe pretty strongly that everyone does their best with the information they have; it’d just be complacent for us to know how much safer she is and then choose to allow her to be less safe out of convenience.

So yes. Our 6.5 year old still rides in a 5 point harness. And that’s okay. We told her we could discuss it more once she reaches age 7, which she is oh-so close to. Eventually we let her use a high back booster with a seat belt.

But not yet.

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