The Australian Standard

General Overview

The latest Australian Standard – AS/NZS1754:2013 – builds upon the 2010 version of the Standard, which introduced a new way to categorize Child Restraints.

Child Restraints were originally categorized by the mass (weight) of the child. Mass-based categories are no longer used in this Standard and have been replaced by;

  • Approximate age ranges.
  • Shoulder Height labels to show the height limits, of the child’s shoulders, in the child restraint.

The new Standard also introduced new requirements for the colour-coded marking of the seatbelt path on the child restraint;

  • Blue for Rearward-Facing
  • Yellow for Forward-Facing
  • Red for Booster Seats

Seated Shoulder Height

The approximate age ranges specified in the Standard give a guide when referencing the new National Road Rules.

For law enforcement purposes the regulations state ‘AGE’, but the shoulder height markers give a closer indication of the correct usage of the restraint, which is based on the size of your child.

Now although the above was all done with good intentions, there are huge differences in a child’s size based on a given age.

For example, based on the statistics specified within the Australian Standard, the possible difference in seated shoulder height of an average sized child is as follows;

Comparative Difference in Seated Shoulder Height
6 Months to 12 MonthsApprox. 2cm difference
12 Months to 4 YearsApprox. 4cm difference
4 Years to 6 YearsApprox. 4cm difference
6 Years to 8 YearsApprox. 4cm difference
8 Years to 10 YearsApprox. 4cm difference

We can see there is a large difference in seated shoulder height for a given age-group. This means that there is a large amount of overlap across age-groups, too;

Similar Seated Shoulder Heights at comparative Age
AgeSize
6 Month Old
12 Month Old
4 Year Old
Large (95th percentile)
Average (50th percentile)
Small (5th percentile)
Similar Seated Shoulder Heights
12 Month Old
4 Year Old
6 Year Old
Large (95th percentile)
Average (50th percentile)
Small (5th percentile)
Similar Seated Shoulder Heights
4 Year Old
6 Year Old
8 Year Old
Large (95th percentile)
Average (50th percentile)
Small (5th percentile)
Similar Seated Shoulder Heights
6 Year Old
8 Year Old
10 Year Old
Large (95th percentile)
Average (50th percentile)
Small (5th percentile)
Similar Seated Shoulder Heights

Seated Shoulder Height Comparison

What this information does is confirm what we already know – children vary greatly in size when compared by age.

Shoulder Height Markers

All child restraints certified to AS/NZS 1754:2010 have shoulder height markers sewn into the cover to help you better decide which restraint is suitable for your child. These are not definite or exact locations, which means the label location does not mean that at this exact ‘line’ you must do this or that.

These labels are positioned during manufacturing and the Standard allows for a variation of approximately 2cm higher or lower from its intended location. From the above Age/Size information you can see that this 4cm variation could represent up to a 2 year difference. You can use the physical height of the label to represent this variation;

Shoulder Height markers

 

So the shoulder height markers are an ‘indication’ of the desired location for the shoulders, and identify an action to be taken;

  • SHOULDERS MUST BE BELOW THIS LINE
  • SHOULDERS MUST BE ABOVE THIS LINE
  • CHANGE TO BOOSTER SEAT MODE

All giving an indication of approximately when to do something.

While the 2010 Standard specifies the minimum location for the Shoulder Height markers, it doesn’t specify the maximum height (this has been left to the discretion of the manufacturers). Currently there is a redraft of the Standard which will also address this shortcoming. It would appear that the location of current InfaSecure Shoulder Height markers would still be within the proposed tolerance specified within this redraft.

How the Standard Affects You

The Australian Standard dictates how manufacturers design and produce child restraints, and informs the law. The law dictates how you use those restraints. The current road rules should be taken as minimum requirements. Even if your child is outside of the advised ‘age-group’ for a given restraint, if their shoulders are still within the applicable shoulder height markers, you should continue using the restraint as dictated by the markers.

While it is not illegal for you to move your child up to the next category of restraint once their age allows, or turn them forward facing once they reach 6 months old, InfaSecure (and dozens of advocate groups, government departments, researchers and manufacturers) strongly recommend you follow the recommendation of the shoulder height markers for the optimal level of safety for your child.

If you have any further questions regarding the Standard and how it affects you, or which restraint is best suited to your child, please contact us, and we’ll be happy to help.