Children who are moved out of a booster seat too soon are 3.5 times more likely to sustain a significant injury, but RACV research has found that some parents are unsure of when to safely move their children out of booster seats.
Without knowing it, parents often move their children out of booster seats too soon which puts them at greater risk of head, neck, spinal and abdominal injuries in a crash. That’s why RACV is urging parents to reassess whether their children are big enough to wear a seatbelt in the car instead of sitting in a booster seat.
The law requires children to be in a suitable restraint (booster seat or seatbelt) between the ages of seven to 16 years. However, this doesn’t simply mean that a child should stop using a booster seat when they turn seven, because it depends on the individual child.
Seatbelts are designed for adult use and some children don’t achieve a good fit until they are 145cm tall or 12 years old. At age seven, less than 2% of children are tall enough to fit into an adult seatbelt.
To help parents and guardians determine whether a child is ready to use a seatbelt, there is a simple five-step test (see video here: 5 step test video);
- Does the child sit all the way back against the seat?
- Do the child’s knees bend comfortably at the edge of the seat?
- Does the belt cross the shoulder properly between the child’s neck and arm?
- Is the lap belt as low as possible and touching the child’s thighs?
- Can the child stay comfortably seated like this for the whole trip?
As mentioned, we can also offer: