Child Accident Prevention Foundation of Australia


National Guidelines for the Safe Restraint of Children Travelling in Motor Vehicles   



Assessing whether a child is ready to use an adult seat belt: The "5-step test" can be used to determine whether a child is big enough to obtain optimal protection from adult seat belt (see the box below).

The Five Step Test:


               1. Can the child sit with their back against the vehicle seat back?
  2. Do the child's knees bend in front of the edge of the seat? 
    3. Does the sash (shoulder) belt sit across the middle of the shoulder, not on the neck or out near the arm?  
    4. Is the lap belt sitting low across the hips touching the thighs?  
    5. Can the child stay seated like this for the whole trip?  

If you answered "Yes" to all 5 Questions, then your child is ready to move out of a Booster seat, into an Adult seatbelt.

If you answered "No" to one or more, then they still need a booster seat.

For further information:

For further information on the NHMRC Best Practice Guidelines for the Safe Restraint for Children
Travelling in Motor Vehicles, click on one of the document links below or Contact Us:

  • National Child Car Restraint Guidelines - Detailed Consumer Document (A4 Booklet)
  • Child Car Restraint Guidelines - A Guide for Parents and Carers (DL Brochure)

    For information on safely restraining children in cars, contact your local Kidsafe state/territory office.
    More details about how these recommendations were developed and the research evidence can be found here