The road rules require a child aged 7 years to under 16 years of age to travel in either an approved booster seat or an adult seatbelt. The type of restraint will depend on the child’s size. Drivers and passengers 16 years and over are required to travel in an adult seatbelt.
How long should your child use their booster?
Your child should continue using his or her booster seat until they have outgrown it. An adult lap-sash seatbelt is designed for people with a minimum height of about 145 cm and the average child will reach this height between 10 to 12 years of age.
Why do they need a booster seat at their age?
Children who are not yet tall enough to use an adult seatbelt tend to slump into the vehicle seat so that their legs bend at the seat edge. This means the lap part of the seatbelt is positioned too high on their stomach and they are at risk of more serious injury in a crash.
Lap-sash seatbelts offer greater protection to passengers than lap-only seatbelts, but they must fit correctly. This means the lap part of the seatbelt is positioned low over the hip and the sash part of the seatbelt sits in the middle of the shoulder and does not touch the neck.
If your vehicle has a lap-only seatbelt replace this, if possible, with a lap-sash seatbelt.
There is a simple five step test to help you decide whether or not your older child is ready to use an adult seatbelt in the car.
1. Can the child sit with their back against the vehicle seat back?
2. Do the child’s knees bend in front of the edge of the seat?
3. Does the sash belt sit across the middle of the shoulder?
4. Is the lap belt sitting low across the hips touching the thighs?
5. Can the child stay seated like this for the whole trip?
The 5 Step Test was sourced from the National Child Restraint Guidelines. For more information and to access the full guidelines, please visit the Kidsafe website
If you aren’t sure or have more questions around kids and cars, please feel free to call us anytime 9589 4942 we’d be happy to talk to you. Don’t just guess – your child’s safety depends on you.