AUSTRALIAN LEGAL REQUIREMENTS

National child restraint laws

  • Children up to the age of six months must be secured in an approved rearward facing restraint
  • Children aged from six months old but under four years old must be secured in either a rear or forward facing approved child restraint with an inbuilt harness
  • Children under four years old cannot travel in the front seat of a vehicle with two or more rows
  • Children aged from four years old but under seven years old must be secured in a forward facing approved child restraint with an inbuilt harness or an approved booster seat
  • Children aged from four years old but under seven years old cannot travel in the front seat of a vehicle with two or more rows, unless all other back seats are occupied by children younger than seven years in an approved child restraint or booster seat
  • Children aged from seven years old but under 16 years old who are too small to be restrained by a seatbelt properly adjusted and fastened are strongly recommended to use an approved booster seat
  • Children in booster seats must be restrained by a suitable lap and sash type approved seatbelt that is properly adjusted and fastened, or by a suitable approved child safety harness that is properly adjusted and fastened.

If your child is too small for the child restraint specified for their age, they should be kept in their current child restraint until it is safe for them to move to the next level.

Children must exhaust all options available for their current age group before prematurely considering to use a child car restraint from the next age group.

COMMON QUESTIONS EXPLAINED

Q. When can my child sit in the front seat?  

A. It is not recommended that any child is allowed to sit in the front seat. 

  • Children from birth to four years can not travel in the front seat of a vehicle with two or more rows of seats, however if the vehicle does not have a rear row, this does not apply.
  • Rearward facing restraints cannot be used in a front seat where there is a passenger airbag.
  • Children from four years to seven years are not allowed to travel in the front seat of a vehicle with two or more rows of seats, unless all the other seats are already occupied by children under seven years of age.
  • Remember that every child travelling in the vehicle should be restrained by an appropriate child car restraint.

Q. What seat is the best for my vehicle? 

A. When choosing a car seat make sure the seat. 

1. Fits your vehicle without impeding all passengers. 
2. Is suitable for your child’s age and size.
3. Must meet the Australian Standard AS/NZS 1754 for child car restraints
4. Not older than 10 years are not used, however at a minimum it needs to be the AS/NZS1754:1995 or a subsequent standard.
5. Buying second hand is not recommended. If you do purchase a used seat make sure it is free from damage, has all parts including user manual available and has not been involved in a collision.

Q. When can my baby be turned forward facing?

A. Children should remain rearward until: 

  • They reach the upper weight in a pre-2010 AS/NZS 1754 standard restraint.  
  • When using a AS/NZS 1754:2010 or 2013 restraint must be rearward until they meet the minimum height markers required in forward facing mode.

If the child meets the minimum size requirements, the child must use the harness from six months until they reach a minimum of four years of age and have reached the minimum age & size requirements for the restraint to be used in booster mode. Then the harness tucks away inside the restraint and the lap sash seat belt is used as is used in an ordinary booster until the child is at least seven years.

 

Q. When can my child use a booster seat?

A. Your child can use a booster seat from the age of 4 years of age until they outgrow or reach 7 years of age, as a minimum. 

It is recommended that if your child still fits their current seat they stay in that seat until they reach the restraint upper most requirements. 

 

Q. When can my child move use the vehicle seats and seat belts?

A. If your 7 year old still fits their booster seat it is recommended they stay in their booster until fully outgrown or meet the 5 Steps for seat belt use. 

 

Q. Can I use my child’s seat from another country? 

A. No. Only restraints that meet the Australian Standard AS/NZS1754 for child restraints can be used in Australia.
It is also a requirement to use child car restraints that meet at least the 1995 version of this standard.

Australian Standard restraints can be identified in two major ways.
1. They all fasten to the vehicle not only by means of the seat belt or ISOFIX points, but also by means of a top tether strap that is attached to an anchor fitting bolted into and anchorage point in the vehicle (with the exception of some boosters).
2. They carry an Australian Standards sticker marked AS/NZS 1754. This sticker is a guarantee that the product is compliant with Australian Mandatory Standards.