5 common myths about booster seats

5 common myths about booster seats


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Confused about booster seats? You’re not alone – only 3% of parents know that a child should be 145cm tall before considering moving them out of a booster.

But there are many other aspects of booster seats that prove equally confusing. Here are our top 5 myths about boosters – and some facts to help bust them.

Fact: every booster seat is different, and not every model is compatible with every vehicle. Different seat geometry and anchor points can vary even within makes and models of car.

So before buying a booster – or any kind of child restraint –  it’s a good idea to check the model will actually fit in your car before purchasing.

 

Myth 2: The more expensive the booster seat, the better

When it comes to the more expensive booster seats, you’re not always paying for greater safety features.

The Child Restraint Evaluation Program (CREP) assesses the protection rating of car seats above Australian Standard requirements, as well as how easy they are to use. Some of their cheaper booster seats – retailing for $99 – perform better on the CREP criteria than those retailing for nearly three times the price.

So before purchasing a booster, it pays to do your research.

 

Myth 3: A booster cushion is good alternative to a standard booster seat.

Fact:  Older-style booster cushions (also known as low back booster seats) are not only less safe than standard high back booster seats, they’re also no longer allowed to be manufactured in Australia and have been removed from the latest version of the child restraint standard.

This is because they provide significantly less protection to kids in a side-on crash, and no support for the head and neck. 

To be on the safe side – avoid them.

 

Myth 4: You shouldn’t use an old booster seat.

Fact: Technology is always improving, which means the newer the booster seat, the better – but this doesn’t mean you can’t use a second-hand model up to 10 years old. Let’s face it – booster seats can be expensive, and if you’ve already got a recent model at home (perhaps from an older sibling) then it’s worth further use out of it.

The crucial thing is that you’ve had a careful look over for any missing parts and general wear and tear, and that you can be sure it hasn’t been in any moderate or severe car crash.

If in doubt? Throw it out.

 

Myth 5: Once they’re tall enough to ride without a booster, kids can sit anywhere in the car.

Fact: even once they’re 145cm tall and can pass the 5 Step Test, kids are still safest sitting in the rear seat of the car up to the age of 12.

Studies have shown that under 12, kids are better protected in the rear of a car, not the front.

If it’s absolutely necessary to seat a child under 12 (and over 145cm tall) in the front of the car, then the seat should be adjusted as far back as possible to avoid the risk of injury from an airbag in a crash.

 

Want more information about safely choosing and using booster seats? Take a look at RACV’s child restraint guide.

 

 

Section 6.6.4 Restraint/vehicle compatibility in Neuroscience Research Australia and Kidsafe Australia: Best Practice Guidelines for the Safe Restraint of Children Travelling in Motor Vehicles, 2nd Edition. Sydney: 2019. Downloaded from www.neura.edu.au/CRS-guidelines

 

Recommendation 1.11 ‘High back booster seats are preferred rather than booster cushions’, Section 6.6.4 Restraint/vehicle compatibility in Neuroscience Research Australia and Kidsafe Australia: Best Practice Guidelines for the Safe Restraint of Children Travelling in Motor Vehicles, 2nd Edition. Sydney: 2019. Downloaded from www.neura.edu.au/CRS-guidelines

 

Recommendations 2.15, 2.16 and 2.17, from Neuroscience Research Australia and Kidsafe Australia: Best Practice Guidelines for the Safe Restraint of Children Travelling in Motor Vehicles, 2nd Edition. Sydney: 2019. Downloaded from www.neura.edu.au/CRS-guidelines

 

Recommendation 4.1 and 4.4, from Neuroscience Research Australia and Kidsafe Australia: Best Practice Guidelines for the Safe Restraint of Children Travelling in Motor Vehicles, 2nd Edition. Sydney: 2019. Downloaded from www.neura.edu.au/CRS-guidelines