Could this tag save your child’s life?
New clothing tag to help clarify when children can travel safely without a booster seat.
A new RACV child campaign will help take the confusion out of safely moving a child from a car booster seat to an adult seat with a seatbelt, and help save children’s lives.
RACV and the Transport Accident Commission have launched the Booster Tag campaign, a no-nonsense guide to help parents make decisions on when a child is ready to graduate from a booster seat based on a child’s height, rather than age. (More: Safest child car seats for 2020)
The safety initiative includes a specially designed clothing tag, for kidswear sized 4 to 11, which indicates that if a child still fits in these clothes, they are likely to be too small to safely move out of a booster seat.
RACV senior policy advisor Elvira Lazar says that although the current child-restraint laws use the age from seven as a guide to moving children from a booster seat, paediatric research shows that height is a better indicator of readiness.
She says adult seats are designed for people of at least 145 centimetres or taller, and research shows that less than three per cent of seven-year-olds attain this height.
“Using age as a guide to move children out of a booster seat is not appropriate,” Elvira says. “All seven-year-olds are different heights so it only makes sense that we highlight to parents that it is the height, rather than the age, of the child that they need to consider before evaluating if they should take their child out of a booster seat.”
She says many parents are unaware that their child should be 145 centimetres to safely move to an adult seat, and even at that height, parents should apply the ‘five-step test’ to ensure a child fits properly into an adult seatbelt.
The new Booster Tags, indicating the size and height of the child wearing them, sit inside the collar next to the clothing care instruction tags to remind parents their child may not be ready to move to an adult seat.
Using age as a guide to move children out of a booster seat is not appropriate.
The tags will be attached to a new limited-edition range of clothing produced for the campaign and available from boostertag.com.au. But they are also available to all Australian kids’ clothing manufacturers to download free from this site for their own garments. The tags have already been embraced by high-profile kidswear brands, a school and a sporting club.
“We hope to spark a movement that sees all children’s clothing manufacturers utilise the Booster Tag, which in turn can help save children’s lives,” says Elvira.
Research shows that children who aren’t seated in an appropriate restraint at the time of a crash are up to seven times more likely to be seriously injured.
Yet statistics indicate that 66 per cent of children aged seven to 10 currently ride in a car without a booster seat despite being too small to sit safely in an adult car seat.
“That’s why, in partnership with TAC, we have created the Booster Tag,” Elvira says. “The tag helps clear the confusion for parents around whether their child should be in a booster seat.
“If a child can wear a T-shirt that carries the Booster Tag, then they are probably too small to move from a booster seat to an adult seat.”
Once a child reaches 145 centimetres, the Booster Tag prompts parents to do the five-step, adult-seatbelt-ready test to check if the child has a good fit in an adult seatbelt and can ride safely without a booster seat. See below.
TAC’s lead director of road safety, Samantha Cockfield, says this campaign is about providing parents with clear and simple information to help “their most precious cargo”.
“It’s critical that all car passengers are correctly restrained when travelling in a vehicle, especially children, who are our most vulnerable road users,” Samantha says.
“Booster seats reduce a child’s risk of injury or death in a car crash by providing side-impact protection and, most importantly, protecting their heads.”
The Booster Tag movement is already gaining momentum with luxe kidswear brands Minti, Oobi and Littlehorn adopting them into their clothing range, with more manufacturers expected to join up.
Half Moon Bay Surf Life Saving Club and Williamstown school the Lumineer Academy have adopted the Booster Tags on their uniforms and vests, and the campaign organisers plan to recruit more clothing companies, schools and sports clubs.
Myer has incorporated the Booster Tag message onto selected garments across its popular Milkshake range with exclusive swing tags.
The Booster Tag campaign aligns with the Victoria Government’s Toward Zero road safety strategy and action plan, which is a plan for a future where no one is killed or seriously injured on Victorian roads.
*By law, children need to travel in a suitable restraint and, for children aged seven to 16, that restraint can be a booster seat or seatbelt. It’s important to use the restraint that is suitable for the child’s height.