Rear-Facing Down Under


The Importance of Booster Seats

Posted on December 23, 2013 at 10:50 PM

The Importance of booster seats.


Vehicle seats and seatbelts are designed for adult sized bodies over 145cm tall. The seatbelt is designed to sit on the strong bones of the shoulder and hips. When a child uses the vehicle seat and seatbelt alone, their legs are too short to bend at the edge of the seat, causing the child discomfort. They slouch to overcome this. This slouching causes the lap belt to ride up onto their soft abdominal area. The slouching in turn causes the shoulder belt to cut across their neck, again causing discomfort. To overcome this, they often put the shoulder belt behind their back or under their arm. The child is now at risk of sustaining internal abdominal injuries, head, neck and spinal injuries in the event of a motor vehicle collision. Booster seats lift the child up to the correct level so that the vehicle seatbelt sits properly on the strong bony parts of their body. Booster seats also provide side impact protection in the event of a side collision.

Crash Test: adult belt is not enough

Crash Test: lap only belt with child dummy

Crash Test: booster with lap only belt

Crash Test: booster with shoulder belt under the arm

Video: When Can Kids Sit in the Front Seat?

Apart from the obvious safety benefits, booster seats give children a better view out the side windows, they provide head support when the child sleeps, and they help to keep the child sitting in the correct position. Booster seats are for big kids. Keep them in a booster seat for as long as they still fit, and until they are tall enough to safely fit the vehicle seat and adult seatbelt correctly. No matter what age they are.

Children are safest using a child restraint or booster seat suited to their age and size until they can pass the Five Step Test to safely use an adult seatbelt alone. Do not move your child out of their booster seat until they can pass all five steps:


Five Step Test.


1. Can the child sit up straight with their back flat against the vehicle seat?

2. Do the child’s knees bend at the edge of the vehicle seat?

3. Does the lap belt sit low on the hips and thighs?

4. Does the shoulder belt sit between the shoulder and neck?

5. Can the child sit up properly, wearing the seatbelt properly for the entire trip?

Booster seats are designed for children over the age of 4, who have completely outgrown child restraints with an in-built harness. Children under the age of 4 must use a child restraint with an in-built harness. If a child outgrows a 0-4 years seat before the age of 4, a convertible booster seat with an in-built (not add-on) harness is recommended to be used for as long as the child still fits. Keep your child in each stage of seat for as long as they fit. Early graduation to the next stage of seat is a step down in safety and puts the child at higher risk of sustaining injuries in a crash.

For MAXIMUM safety, go beyond the legal minimums.

Categories: Educational Info