A Tale of Two Shoulder Heights

June 1, 2015  |  Infa Group Admin

We've talked before about using a child’s Age to determine the suitability of a restraint, and why that’s probably the worst way to do it - in short, children come in all shapes and sizes, and age rarely plays a significant factor in that.

This weekend, I found that out first hand. I’d taken our restraints out of the car for a checkup (something we recommend you do at least once every few months) and my eldest son sat in his little brother’s seat.


Mr. O, in the blue, will be 6 years old in a couple of months, and Mr. L, in the green, will be 3 years old in a few weeks. Almost three years apart, and yet they have very, very similar seated shoulder heights.

So what does this mean? Not only do children come in different shapes and sizes, they also grow differently - some kids are all legs, some have larger torsos. To try and shoehorn them into a restraint based solely on their age is like forcing them to wear shoes 4 sizes too large, only with much more serious consequences.

Booster Seats - For Bigger Kids, Not Simply 'Four Year Olds'.

Which leads us to the next point; Mr. O is almost 6 years old, so he can well and truly legally travel in a booster seat - but there’s no way he’s ready for that yet (still a full 9cm under his Comfi Caprice's 'CHANGE TO BOOSTER MODE' label). Children are safest in an in-built 6 point harness, and moving them into a booster seat too early (that is, when they’re too small), just because they meet the Australian Road Rules Age requirement, can be a significant detriment to their safety.

Always use the Shoulder Height markers as the best way of determining the most appropriate child restraint for your child, irrespective of age. If they are under the relevant marker, leave them in their current restraint. If they are over the marker, move them into a restraint with a larger capacity, or up to the next category.

If you’re unsure about which seat will suit your child best, please don’t hesitate in contacting us - we’re here to help!

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December 13, 2019 12:07


I am quite amazed and very concerned about the different laws and rules that govern child restraints.

Especially with the significant difference with NSW and ACT. I would not like to have a child in a car in the ACT based on what information is online from the AFP and KidSafe websites on what they recommend.
In NSW the laws and rules are much safer and the recommendations are in my opinion keeping babies and kids safe.
I have contacted KidSafe ACT that their recommendations are the opposite of the KidSafe NSW website and many other articles and videos from NSW. That was nearly 2 weeks ago now and I am still waiting for a reply.
The ACT really need to move into the 21st century.

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