When can my child start using a booster seat?

Moving your child to a booster seat is a milestone that many parents look forward to.

Why is this? Well, it’s often a quicker and easier process to get your child seated and secure, making your busy life much easier! We understand just how time-poor busy parents can be.

Let’s face it, you’ll probably be glad that the days of gently encouraging your wriggling toddler to sit still while you strap them into their car seat are a thing of the past.

Booster seats are a safe and comfortable seat for kids to travel in with features that will continue to reassure you of their safety.

But, when should you move your child to a booster car seat?

You might be asking yourself if your child needs to be a certain height, age or weight – or if the decision is up to you? We’re going to cover everything you need to know here, so that you will be equipped with the information you need before you make the decision to move them into a new booster seat.

Legal considerations to think about

When you feel your child has outgrown their harnessed car seat and is at the stage to upgrade their seat, there are some legal considerations to think about first.

The Australian laws relating to car seats say that depending on their seated shoulder height, by approximately the age of four, a child must be sitting in a forward-facing approved child restraint, such as a booster with an inbuilt harness, or an unharnessed booster seat with a properly fastened and adjusted seat belt. 

They must then continue to travel in this seat until they’re approximately seven or eight years of age. Again, this is subject to their shoulder height.

Harnessed or Non-harnessed booster seats

Booster seats either have an inbuilt harness or are unharnessed. You’ll be used to restraining your child in a harnessed booster seats in the same way as your current car seat.

A harnessed booster seat might be worth considering for children who are prone to wriggling or slouching!

Our Journey harnessed booster seat has features that protect your child when you’re travelling.

These include large side wings for maximum side impact protection as well as an easy to adjust 6 position headrest. Padded belt mates and armrests give your child added comfort and to make your life easier, the covers are machine washable – an essential requirement for parents of kids prone to mess!

If you’re in the market for a new car seat but your child isn’t yet ready for a booster seat, our Prime AP convertible booster seat is a great choice. It will protect your child from six months to approximately eight years of age and can be used in toddler mode and booster mode – meaning it grows with your child.

This safe, comfy and versatile, convertible booster seat features Air ProtectTM: our superior side impact protection that shields your child in the instance of an accident by dispersing the energy forces away from your child’s head. Air ProtectTM also offers a soft cushion for your child to rest on during long drives.

Unharnessed booster seats are used in conjunction with your vehicle’s regular car seat belt. The seat helps to elevate your child so that the seat belt fits correctly between the shoulder and neck.

The high back of a booster seat will help to keep them in a supported and upright position.

Our Tribe AP non-harnessed booster seat also features our revolutionary AirProtect TM Technology.

This unharnessed booster seat also has easy to access cup holders - meaning no more drink spillages on your vehicle seats! It has a removable cover that is machine washable, making everyday maintenance a breeze for you.

The Tribe AP booster seat is a narrow, yet comfortable seat that allows for up to three seats across the back in most cars.

Which brings us on to the installation of your booster seat.

Installing the booster seat

The next consideration to make is getting the booster seat installed correctly.

We recommend asking a car seat installation specialist to fit your booster seat correctly. This will give you so much peace of mind that when you’re out and about in the car, your child is safe and protected.

Many busy parents who are on the go a lot in the car, see a benefit in moving their child into a booster seat.

It can be quicker to get them seated and secure, but you will still feel confident and assured that they’re restrained and safe.

When it comes to making the right decision for your child, it’s most important that you make this decision based on the law, and with the safety of your child in mind. Waiting until your child is at the right shoulder height is imperative. No need to rush this decision as the law is very clear and there to help you.

One more thing to consider – unharnessed booster seats give a child more opportunities to move. That might mean leaning forwards or sideways, slouching and taking the chance to thoroughly check out their surroundings!

Talk them through the differences between their old car seat and their new booster seat and educate them on the importance of sitting still.

Let’s recap:

If your child has outgrown their current harnessed car seat and has reached the top height marker, it’s time to choose a booster seat.

By approximately the age of four, children must be sitting in a forward-facing approved child restraint, such as a booster with an inbuilt harness, or an unharnessed booster seat with a properly fastened and adjusted seat belt.

You can now choose between a convertible booster seat or a non-harnessed booster seat.

When you’ve selected the right booster seat for your child and car, consider having it professionally installed for added peace of mind.

At Mother’s Choice, we have a variety of stylish and safe booster seats to suit your vehicle and keep your child comfortably restrained and secure. You can find out more about our booster seat range here.