obese and overweight children often worry about how they can safely transport their children in car seats. Appropriate restraint use for tall and/or heavy children can be a challenge. To meet the needs of larger children, car seat manufacturers have developed many seats that fit children to higher weights and heights, including
forward-facing seats and
belt-positioning booster seats.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) supports this progress and the regulatory changes that ensure those higher-capacity seats provide the best possible protection to children.
For parents who are unsure how to safely transport a large child, the AAP offers the following reminders and suggestions:
For more information on how to decide when your child is ready to move to the next type of car seat or into the adult seat belt, see our
car seat guide.
Never use a car seat if your child weighs more than the seat's weight limit or is taller than the height limit. Check the labels on the seat or manufacturer's instructions if you are unsure what the limits are.
The "best" car seat is the one that fits your child, that fits your vehicle, and that you will use correctly for every trip. If you need help finding a car seat that fits your larger child, a Child Passenger Safety Technician may be able to help. You can find a Technician near you by visiting http://cert.safekids.org (Click on “Find a Tech”) or calling the toll-free 1-877-366-8154.
Car safety seat manufacturers increasingly are making car seats that fit larger children.
Click here for a list of available car seats. These include:
Convertible seats with rear-facing weight limits up to 40 to 50 pounds
Forward-facing seats with harnesses (convertible seats, combination seats, or forward-facing only seats) with an upper weight limit of 50 to 90 pounds
Booster seats with a maximum weight limit of 100 to 125 pounds
For toddlers or young children whose behavior will not yet allow safe use of a booster seat but who are too large for a forward-facing seat with a harness, you can consider using a travel vest. A list of travel vests is available in our
car seat guide. Most travel vests have upper weight limits of 60 to 168 pounds.