A new research has revealed that children up to the age of 12 should use booster seats in vehicles, unless they meet a minimum height requirement, to avoid life-threatening injuries.
The RACV research suggests that children should stay in booster seats until they are 145 centimetres tall, which is the height most commonly reached by 10- to 12-year-old children.
Footage of the research showed a crash test dummy wearing an adult seat belt lurching forward as its body folds in two after a car going just 56 kilometres an hour collided with another vehicle.
Trauma specialist professor Warwick Teague told 7News that the guidelines for child car restraint in Australia are putting kids at risk of ‘life threatening injuries,’ “They are now at significant risk of injury because the seatbelt is not going to fit them correctly,” he said.
In NSW and Victoria, it is legal for seven-year-olds not to use booster seats any longer and use an adult seatbelt instead, but experts warn this is too young.
Professor Teague said adult seatbelts can crush the abdomen and spine of a developing child, posing a life-threatening risk. “The sash part of the seat belt will rise up across the neck, and that produces potentially life threatening injuries to the spine and the ligaments around the spine,” he said.
The research discovered that parents are also turning their babies around to front facing too soon, suggesting that babies should be best kept rear facing until they are two-and-a half years old.
For more information on current recommended car-seat guidelines in Australia, visit the KidSafe website.
Feature image: RACV