Doctors have warned that children are being taken out of booster seats too early, putting them at increased risk of death and serious injury in the family car.
Safety experts are calling for children’s car seat laws to be reviewed.
A recent study by the Royal Children’s Hospital has found that two thirds of children aged seven to ten travel without a booster seat. While that’s legal, most of those kids are under the recommended height of 145cm to safely use an adult seat belt.
The study also revealed that 97% of parents have no idea of what that height guideline is and almost half of children aged seven to 12 regularly sit in the front seat despite it doubling the risk of injury.
According to the survey, 47 per cent of kids between seven and 12 were allowed to sit in the front seat, which doubles their risk of being injured in a crash.
Children between six months and two years of age are being put at risk too, with more than half (53%) of polled parents turning their children to travel forward-facing earlier than recommended.
The nation-wide poll also found:
The most common age for first travelling without a booster seat is seven years (35%) followed by eight years (28%)
The leading reason for having children under 12 travel in the front seat is that their parents believed they were old enough to safely do so (39%)
Tips for parents
- To keep your young child entertained rearward-facing, utilize toys and mirrors while driving
- Before transitioning your child out a booster seat ensure they are taller than 145 cm and can pass the five-step test (see on the For Parents page). Place a marker on a wall in your home and measure your child
- If your child thinks they are too grown up for a booster seat, talk to them about why it’s important they remain in one until they reach 145 cm tall
- Encourage your child to sit in the back seat of the car until they reach the age of 13 and explain that they are safest in the back
The nation-wide poll surveyed 1,639 parents caring for 2,778 kids.
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