Booster Line sticker draws line on child safety

Moving Well | Words: Elvira Lazar | Photos: James Smart | Posted on 30 April 2020

A simple sticker will help clarify when children can travel in an adult seatbelt.

It seems to be understood that children need to travel in a car seat until they are seven years old. What is less well known is the fact that there are also rules for how children should be restrained between the ages of 7 and 16, based on height. 

A booster seat is a suitable restraint for a child under 145 centimetres in height. To make this clear, RACV is fitting vehicles with the Booster Line sticker. The Booster Line can be added to your vehicle at one of our Accredited Auto Care Centres to give parents a quick visual guide for a child’s height to help them determine the right time to transition out of a booster seat and into an adult seatbelt. 

Child sitting in a car with the booster seat sticker in the door

The Booster Line sticker sits inside the door trim and is installed at a height of 145 centimetres. When children stand next to the car, parents can easily work out whether they still have some growing to do, or if they’re ready to take the five-step seatbelt-ready test (see below). 

RACV senior policy adviser Elvira Lazar says age is not an appropriate single measure of whether a child is seatbelt ready. “In fact, at age seven more than 98 per cent of children are not 145 centimetres tall. This is even the case for most nine-year-olds. 

 “Current child-restraint legislation was first introduced in November 2009. While most parents comply with laws up until age seven, the Booster Line will help clear up when the transition to an adult seatbelt should be made based on height.” 

RACV also recently joined forces with TAC to develop the Booster Tag, a clothing tag that sits alongside care instructions on children’s garments to indicate whether children are tall enough to move out of their booster seat. If a child can fit into clothing with the Booster Tag, they are likely to be under 145 centimetres tall and therefore still need a booster seat to travel safely. This initiative again underscores that height, not only age, is a key factor in determining when children are seatbelt ready. 

Booster seat stickers
Booster seat stickers
Booster seat stickers

Five life-saving steps to test if your child fits into an adult seatbelt  

Even when your child has reached 145 centimetres, it is important to use the five-step test to ensure they fit properly into an adult seatbelt. 

  1. Check that your child has their back flat against the back of the seat. 
  2. When sitting all the way back with their back flat, their legs should be able to bend over the seat edge. 
  3. The seatbelt should run over the middle of the child’s shoulder and not dig into their neck. 
  4. The seatbelt should sit low and firm across the child’s hips and touch their thighs. 
  5. This position should be comfortable and allow the child to sit in this position for the whole trip.