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.

Share your comments below

  • We look like having a very tall child but I am still really worried about making sure he’s in the car seat as long as possible.


  • We always followed the height/weight guidelines when transitioning our kids to different car seats. Doing it because your baby is bored with rear facing……..really?!?!


  • My 9yr old old is still in her booster seat. Safety first indeed. Height is important.


  • I actually thought it was illegal for kids under 13 to travel in the front seat unless all other seats were occupied by other children.


  • safety first has always been our motto. In Vic. unless the law has changed children under a certain age are not allowed to sit in the front seat of any motor vehicle. Our 7 y;.o. is still in his booster seat and will be until he is too big for it.


  • Have to agree. Safety first alwaysover convenience


  • My daughter turned 8 in March, I have explained that she has to be a certain height before she doesn’t need her booster.
    I also don’t allow anyone under 12 to sit in the front seat unless all other seats are taken my younger children.


  • Height is so much more important than age!


  • good article to read


  • Both of my kids are in car seats however I could not keep them rear facing for long as their legs were too long an they were getting scrunched up.


  • My daughter was only just turned around and she is 2 and a half. My other daughter is almost 6 years old and still in a harnessed seat. I dont care if they whinge and complain, if they are safer I am going to keep them in a car seat for as long as I can.


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