Adding Cushions Under Child In Car Seat – Expert’s Answer
Adding cushions under child in car seat – Expert’s Answer
Common question’s from parents about adding cushions under a child in a car seat:
My son complains that they are uncomfortable on long car rides because there’s not enough padding on the booster seat. Is it ok if I add a small pillow or cushion under my child in the car to make it a bit comfier for them?
My toddler is in a new high back booster seat (link) that uses an adult seat belt with a guide. Unfortunately they seat belt still rests against the neck more than the shoulder even when I use the seat belt guide as I should. Can I put a small cushion under them to make them an inch or two higher so the seat belt is properly resting on their shoulder?
Never use a cushion not specifically designed for the car seat under any circumstances!
A car seat is designed for optimal safety based on a myriad of factors. The frame of the car seat is steel to help prevent damage, the padding is EPS (an energy absorbing foam) to absorb some of the shock and damage, and the five point harness or adult lap belt with guide is specifically designed to restrain the child safely within the seat during the impact. Any alteration not specifically designed by for the car seat by a reputable manufacturer can result in injury and even death for the child during an accident.
So why is this?
First, adding in a cushion, despite you thinking it will increase the safety of the seat, actually does not. The cushion can easily compress during an accident because it’s not designed to withstand the force and impact that a normal car seat cushion is. When it compresses it can allow the child to slip under the restraints and either become a projectile in the car, or receive severe injuries from being caught in the straps.
But my child doesn’t fit in their car seat – what do I do?
Car seat cushions (find some in car seat accessories)– car seat cushions are sometimes available for certain car seat models and are a great car seat accessory for parents. Often available for premature infants, there are other car seat cushions designed for booster car seats, convertible car seats, and other styles. If you want to make sure the child is more comfortable, or fits properly, in their car seat, then consider first getting a certified car seat cushion as an aide.
If, however, a car seat cushion is not an option and you’ve upgraded your child’s car seat into a larger model because they’re “at that age”, or they want to feel like a “big kid”, then you need to downgrade again. They are not fitting in the seat properly because they are not the size needed for the seat.
Should your child be too big entirely for their previous car seat, then you need to get a different model that they will fit in. Not only will the car seat they’re not fitting into not pass an inspection, but it also puts the child as well as everyone else in the car in danger.