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What Age Should Children be in Booster Seats?

Booster seats are essential to ensure the safety of your child when driving in a car and help prevent serious injury or death in the event of an accident.

A booster seat is specifically engineered to maximise safety effectively, prevent injury and save lives. It is critical to keep your child secured in a restraint that is appropriate for their needs. In particular, when selecting a booster seat you should take into consideration:

Your child’s age
The height of your child

Generally, booster seats are recommended for children aged between 4 to approximately 7 years old.

National safety guidelines

Australian national road laws require children aged four years and older to travel in a booster seat or a forward facing seat with an inbuilt harness. It is recommended they continue using this booster seat until aged seven, or longer if their height means they have not yet outgrown it.

While the age-based recommendations are in place as guidelines, you may find your child’s height requires your child to move into a booster seat before they reach four years old. In this case, seek guidance from the road safety authority in your state, as placing a child in a restraint that is too large for them increases their risk of injury in a collision.

What age is too old for booster seats?

Children are often moved into an adult seat belt too early. Research has shown that children aged between 2 and 5 years are 3.5 times at risk of serious injury when wearing an adult seatbelt and 4.2 times at risk of a head injury than children in a proper child restraint. 1

Only consider moving your child out of their booster seat after they have exceeded the height recommendations and can no longer sit comfortably in the restraint. Adult seatbelts are designed for a minimum height of 145cm but their height is not the only indicator, you should also consider how they sit in the seat. Assess the following factors by testing how your child seats in an adult seat:

If your child’s legs are shorter than the depth of the seat and do no hang comfortably over the seat edge, your child is likely to move forward or slump in their seat which will change the position of the lap belt and increase the risk of serious injury.

If the seat belt crosses your child’s face or neck rather than their chest, your child is likely to place the seat belt behind their back to remove this discomfort greatly increasing the risk of injury.

If the lap belt rides up over your child’s abdomen when sitting correctly, your child is at increased risk of serious injury (The lap belt should always be positioned over the hips and thighs).

If your child wriggles or slumps in their seat, the lateral support provided by a booster seat reduces the risk head, neck and abdominal injury.

With a greater range of booster seats available for children up to 10 years of age, it is recommended that parents keep your child in a booster seat until they fully comply with all of the above requirements.

Booster seat features

Good quality booster seats are designed to provide the optimum levels of safety and comfort. They come with a range of features specifically designed to suit older children, such as side impact cushions, an active head restraint and expandable or deep side wings. Safe-n-Sound booster seats also include an exclusive SLIDEGUARD clip to prevent any chance of your child sliding down under the lap belt.

Discover Safe-n-Sounds range of reliable and reputable boosters seats and ensure your child is always safe when travelling in the car.