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Car booster seats: how to make the safest choice

car booster seatThink carefully before using a car seat booster cushion that does not have rear or side support for your child, or giving one to another family.

While booster cushions are legal to use, they’re not the safest option. Booster seats with a back and side wings offer more protection. Correctly fitted and used child restraints and booster seats can reduce the likelihood of death and serious injury by up to 70 per cent in a road crash.

In Australia, all child car restraints must comply with mandatory safety standards. However, each state and territory has specific requirements for their use.

In Victoria, children younger than seven must use a child restraint or booster seat when travelling in a car. You must, for children aged:

  • up to six months, use rearward facing child restraints
  • from six months until four years, use a rearward or forward-facing child restraint with in-built harness
  • from four to seven years, use a forward-facing child restraint with in-built harness, or a booster seat.

For children older than four years, you might consider a combined child car seat and booster seat, which can be used as a car seat until a child weighs 18 kilograms. After this milestone, you can tuck the harness straps inside the seat, which becomes a booster seat with a lap and sash belt; or use an approved booster seat.

Do not move to the next level of restraint until your child outgrows the restraint they are using.

Carefully follow the manufacturer’s instructions when installing a child restraint or booster seat in your vehicle. If possible, get a professional to fit it for you. Restraint fitting stations are listed on the VicRoads, RACV, Hire for Baby, or ACRI websites.

In Victoria, approved child restraints, booster seats and child safety harnesses are those that comply with the 1995, 2000, 2004 or 2010 versions of the Australian and New Zealand Standard AS/NZS 1754. This standard (AS/NZS 1754) is one of the most stringent child restraint standards in the world.

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3 comments so far -

  1. I think you are partly wrong in the article where it says if your child weighs 18kgs you can put the harness away etc.. that only implies to child restraints made pre 2010 standards, 2010 standards go by shoulder height marker and weight is irrelevant for this reason. Some children could reach 18kgs at 2-3yrs of age while others at 6yrs or older. The 2-3yr olds would still be vulnerable being in a booster seat at that age still as their bone structure and maturity is that of a 2-3yr old which is more dangerous to put them in a booster seat hence why 2010 standards don’t go by weight anymore. Now we have 2013 standards approved which we are waiting for ACCC to mandate which will have 2 new categories rear facing upto a large 30 month old and harnessing upto a large 8yr old. So that we can keep our children safer for much longer.

  2. Great post and completely agree with you! Have to have our toddlers seats accurately positioned to ensure their safety.

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