Child booster seats in cars

New Zealand will change the law to make it compulsory for children up to the age of 7 to sit in a booster seat in a car. At the moment, the law says it is compulsory for children up to the age of 5.

Doctors at Starship hospital, which is the Auckland children’s hospital, say that adult seat belts are not right for children. If a young child is not in a booster seat, the seat belt can cause serious injuries to the head, neck, spine or stomach.

The law requires young children to stay in a child seat until the age of 4 or 14kg. It has to be attached to the seat, usually by a bolt behind the back seat. It has a harness over each shoulder, a strap between the legs and around the waist, and a buckle in front which the child cannot undo. After the age of 4, they can use a booster seat.

Doctors and Plunket believe that children are safer in a booster seat until they are 148cm tall and for many children, this is between the age of 9 and 12.

A booster seat is much cheaper than a child’s car seat and it is easy to take in and out of the car. However, it takes up space on the back seat of the car and this can be a problem for big families.


up to the age of 7 – before they are 7
boost (v) – increase; booster (adj, n) a booster seat increases the child’s height on the seat
compulsory (adj) – you must do this (opposite: optional)
spine (n)– back bone
requires (v) – says you must do this
harness (n) – straps over the shoulders and buckled around the waist
undo (v) – open (opposite: do up)


Do you know what the child car seat law is in your country?
Why does the law give a weight or age instead of a height? Is this sensible?

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