Think 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.