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How to measure your child’s shoulder height for carseats

You’ve probably seen the shoulder height marker labels that are sewn into all new child restraints in Australia – but do you know what they are for, or how to use them?

When the Australian Standard for child restraints was revised in 2010, it made significant changes to the way the suitability of a restraint was measured for a child. Previously, suitability had been determined by the weight of the child, but the 2010 standard removed all mention of weight, opting instead to add shoulder height marker labels that are sewn into the covers of all child restraints.

These new shoulder height marker labels give parents and carergivers an easy to understand, visual reference for fitment and suitability for their child, taking away the guesswork and the potential to lose track of your child’s growth in any given child restraint.

When researching restraints, it can be extremely helpful if you know your child’s seated shoulder height, so we thought we’d write a guide describing how to measure that correctly.

Image of shoulder height marker labels sewn onto child car seats

Your child should be in their regular clothing (if they normally wear a nappy when travelling, have them wear one now, for example).

For older children, who can sit up
Have them sit on a flat surface, with their back against a wall.
Measure from the floor to the top of their shoulder.

As children’s shoulders slope downward from their necks, we recommend you measure to the middle point between their neck and the outside of their shoulder (where the shoulder strap of the child restraint harness would naturally sit).

If your child is still to young to sit up unassisted:
Have them lay flat on their back, and lift their legs as if they were sitting, or have them lay in their existing child restraint.
Measure from their bottom, up to their shoulder.

As babies shoulders slope downward from their necks, we recommend you measure to the middle point between their neck and the outside of their shoulder (where the shoulder strap of the child restraint harness would naturally sit).

Understanding what the shoulder height labels mean is the key to ensuring your child is in the correct car seat for their age and height. The correct restraint is the safest option. Ignore what you think is the correct information about age, weight, abilities etc. Just follow the instructions on the shoulder height markers.

If you have any questions or comments, please get in touch.

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