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Booster and Forward Facing Car Seats. All you need to know.

Booster Seats

Is your child aged 4-7 years of age?

Then they must travel in a forward facing child restraint or a booster seat. The type will depend on their age and size.

Forward Facing Car Seats

When using a forward facing car seat it must:

  • be securely attached to the car seat by the seat belt
  • have it's top tether strap attached
  • have an inbuilt harness.

When putting the inbuilt harness on your child, its straps must come out of the slots just above their shoulders. If the straps are more that 25mm below your child's shoulders you will need to move the straps to a higher slot.

You should move your child to a larger forward facing child restraint with an inbuilt harness or a booster seat if their shoulders:

  • are above the highest slot for the harness, or
  • have reached the shoulder height marker available on some restraints.

Booster Seats

Booster seats are for use with either a lap-sash seatbelt by children whose shoulders are above the lower shoulder height marker (approx. 4 years of age) until child’s shoulders reach the upper shoulder height marker (approx. 8 years of age).

Booster seats are held in place by the child’s own body and the vehicle's lap-sash seat belt. A child can be injured in a crash if the seat belt is not properly adjusted.

Tips when choosing and using a booster seat

Never use a lap-only seat belt with a booster seat, only a lap-sash seat belt. If there is no choice but to use a lap-only seat belt, you must also use a child safety harness.

Check that the sash of the seat belt crosses your child's shoulder and does not touch their neck. The sash guide on the booster seat can be adjusted to prevent this. If your seat has a top tether strap make sure you use it.

Choose a booster seat with an expandable headrest.You can adjust the height of the booster seat as your child grows.

Children aged 4 years to less than 7 years must use either:

  • a forward facing child restraint with an inbuilt harness, or
  • a booster seat.

Choose what's best for your child

Children grow at different rates and there can be big differences in their heights and weights. Therefore you can choose the type of restraint that is best for your child's size.

Even if your child is 4 years old they may not be ready to travel in a booster seat. We recommend you keep your child in their forward facing restraint with an inbuilt harness until they are too big for it and then move to a booster seat.

Front or back seat?

Children aged 4 years old to under 7 years old can only sit in the front seat if all of the back seats are taken by other passengers under 7 years old.

If your vehicle does not have a back seat (e.g. a ute) they can travel in the front seat if they are in a child restraint as long as the airbags are inactivated.