Making the switch
Wondering when to move your child up into a toddler or booster seat? Here’s what you need to know…
Everything you need to know about car safety restraints
Whether you’re driving your kids to and from the shops, play dates or soccer practice, you’ll want to get them from A to B safely. So if your kids are starting to outgrow their infant or toddler seats, it may be time to start shopping around for a more suitable car restraint. But with child weight, size and height limits to consider as well as the variety of restraints on offer, it can be a confusing and daunting exercise. So where do you start? Read on and we’ll help you make the right choice.
MOVIN’ ON UP
From the time you drive them home from hospital up until the time they’re ready to use an adult seatbelt, it will be your job to ensure they are in the correct car restraint. Every child is different, but as a general rule, it’s recommended that you only move them up when they no longer comfortably fit their current child car seat. Most children will be required to travel in a car seat or booster seat until they’re about 10 to 12 years old.
As important as the type of car or booster seat is, ensuring that it’s correctly fitted and adjusted is equally as critical to safety. According to Britax, car crashes are one of the leading causes of child death in Australia, yet around 70 per cent of our smallest travellers ride in child restraints that are not fitted or used correctly.
Requirements vary between the states and territories, but all child car restraints are required to meet the Australian Standards (AS/NZS 1754), which covers materials, design, construction, performance, testing and labelling.
As a general rule, buying or using hand-me-down second-hand car or booster seats is not recommended because older models may no longer comply with current safety standards. However, if you are leaning towards a second-hand model, ensure it’s never been in a car crash, isn’t more than six years old, doesn’t display any cracking or fraying and can be safely installed in your car. Unless you know its complete history, it might be worth giving it a miss.
Most children will be required ot travel in a car seat or booster seat until they are about 10 to 12 years old.
So here’s a quick glance at what the minimum legal requirements are in Australia by age group:
Babies under six months must use a rearward-facing child restraint with an inbuilt harness. Children aged between six
months and four years must use a rearward-facing or forward-facing child restraint with an inbuilt harness. Children aged between four
and seven years must use a forwardfacing approved child restraint with an inbuilt harness, or an approved booster seat with a fastened and adjusted seatbelt or a child safety harness. Children aged seven years
and older can use a child restraint or adult seatbelt depending on their size.
If your child is too small for the child restraint specified for their age, they should be kept in their current child restraint until it is safe for them to move to the next level.