Child restraints are designed to keep your children safe in the car and protect them in an accident. By law, all children up to the age of seven must be restrained when travelling by car on Australian roads.
The rules differ slightly based on the age of the child:
- 0 - 6 months: An approved rearward-facing child restraint is required. This includes infant capsules or specially designed car seats. On top of that, the child must be seated in the rear of the vehicle.
- 6 months - 4 years: Either a rearward- or forward-facing child restraint is required, such as a child safety seat. Again, the child must be in the rear of the vehicle.
- 4 years - 7 years: Either a forward-facing child restraint or a booster seat with seatbelt or safety harness is required. Even up to the age of 7, the child must be in the rear of the vehicle unless all other seats are taken by children under 7.
Weight is also a factor in determining what restraint is best for your child.
- A baby weighing up to 9 kg (or 70 cm in length) requires a rear-facing infant restraint
- A toddler weighing 8 kg to 18 kg requires a child-seat, forward facing
- A child weighing 14 kg to 26 kg requires a booster seat and safety harness (up to 32kgs).
It is advised never to buy a second-hand child restraint as it is impossible to know whether it still meets the high industry standards (Australian Standard AS/NZS 1754). If second-hand is the only option for you, be sure it’s in good condition.
Do not buy a seat that has been in an accident, shows signs of wear like cracked plastic, frayed seatbelt or broken buckles.
Always have your child restraint installed by a professional to ensure it is fitted correctly.