Victorian State Laws

In 2009 the state car seat laws around australia were updated to reflect amongst other things, child safety seats and set a minimum nationally. The appropriate section is included below RULE 266 subrule 2 through to subrule 4E, with subrule 5 delaing with exemptions. It must be remembered these are minimum standards and do not represent the best practices. Best Practices are defined by the Australian Standards AS/NZ 1754:2013.

Rear Facing

Subrule 2 and 2a – a Child must be rear facing when the child is less than 6 months but can be forward facing from 6 months onwards but it is ok if the child is rear facing longer

Best Practice – use of either an A2 Child Safety seat or a A4 Safety seat to keep a child rear facing until torso length of 35 cm and a max torso length of 39 cm, in terms of ages this translate to an average age of 12 months to 30 months

Forward Facing

Subrule 2A and 2B – a child from 6 months can be forward facing and in a inbuiilt harness but can be in a booster seat from 4 years of age. If should be noted that there is nothing to prevent a child being rear facing up to 4 years of age but the child must be forward facing from 4 years of age. This may seem a long time to be rear facing but it is very common for children with a short torso to not reach the first shoulder height marker by 3 years of age.

Best Practive is As/NZ 1754:2013 using the A4 reat facing seat and a Type G seat which has a harness until the child has reached a torso legth of 51cmn n or an average age of 8 years. Best Practice is not to use a H Harness / Protecta harness unless the seat belt is a LAP only seat belt. Booster cushions are no longer recommended as there is no head or side protection. A better option is to use a un-tethered booster seat (must weigh under 2 kg).

Victoria Leglisation (child safety seat)

266 Wearing of seatbelts by passengers under 16 years old
….
(2) If the passenger is less than 6 months old, he or she must be restrained in a suitable and properly fastened and adjusted rearward facing approved
child restraint.
Notes

  • 1 Approved child restraint is defined in the dictionary and rearward facing is defined in subrule (6A).
  • 2 See subrule (4B) if a passenger cannot safely be restrained as required by this subrule because of his or her height or weight.

(2A) If the passenger is 6 months old or older, but is less than 4 years old, he or she must be restrained in a suitable and properly fastened and adjusted

(a) rearward facing approved child restraint; or
(b) forward facing approved child restraint that has an inbuilt harness.
Notes

  • 1 Approved child restraint is defined in the dictionary and forward facing and rearward facing are defined in subrule (6A).
  • 2 See subrule (4C) if a passenger cannot safely be restrained as required by this subrule because of his or her height or weight.

(2B) If the passenger is 4 years old or older, but is less than 7 years old, he or she must—
(a) be restrained in a suitable and properly fastened and adjusted forward facing approved child restraint that has an inbuilt harness; or
(ba) be placed in a seating position in accordance with rule 268(4B) and be restrained in—
(i) a suitable and properly fastened and adjusted lap and sash type seatbelt; or
(ii) a lap type seatbelt fitted with an approved child safety harness; or
(b) be placed on a properly positioned approved booster seat and be restrained by either 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;

Notes

  • 1 Approved booster seat and approved child restraint are defined in the dictionary, approved child safety harness is defined in subrule (7), forward facing is defined in subrule (6A) and approved seatbelt is defined in the dictionary.
  • 2 See subrule (4D) if a passenger cannot safely be restrained as required by this subrule because of his or her height or weight.
  • 3 In relation to paragraph (b), subrule (4E) permits an approved child safety harness to be worn instead of the sash part of a lap and sash seatbelt.

(3) A passenger who is under 4 years old must not be in the front row of a motor vehicle that has 2 or more rows of seats.

(3A) A passenger who is 4 years old or older, but is less than 7 years old, must not be in the front row of a motor vehicle that has 2 or more rows of seats unless in the row or rows behind the front row

  • (a) all of the other seats are occupied by passengers who are also less than 7 years old; or
  • (b) there is no empty seating position in which the passenger can sit in accordance with this rule.

Example
This subrule would permit a 6 year old to sit in the front row of a vehicle that has 2 rows of seats if 2 occupied approved child restraints in the back row encroached on an empty seating position between them in a way that made it impossible for another approved child restraint or booster seat to be placed in that position.

(4) If the passenger is 7 years old or older but under 16 years old—
(a) he or she must be restrained in a suitable approved child restraint that is properly adjusted and fastened; or
(b) he or she

  • (i) must occupy a seating position that is fitted with a suitable approved seatbelt; and
  • (ii) must not occupy the same seating position as another passenger (whether or not the other passenger is exempt from wearing a seatbelt under rule 267); and Rule 266(3A).
  • (iii) must wear the seatbelt properly adjusted and fastened.

Note
In relation to paragraph (b)(iii), subrule (4E) permits an approved child safety harness to be worn instead of the sash part of a lap and sash seatbelt.

(4A) Subrules (2), (2A), (2B) and (4) do not apply if the passenger is exempt from wearing a seatbelt under rule 267.

(4AB) Subrules (3) and (3A) do not apply if the passenger is exempt from the front seat position restrictions under rule 267(3C).

(4B) If a passenger cannot safely be restrained as required by subrule (2) because of his or her height or weight, he or she must be restrained as if
subrule (2A) applied to him or her.

(4C) If a passenger cannot safely be restrained as required by subrule (2A) or (4B) because of his or her height or weight, he or she must be restrained
as if subrule (2B) applied to him or her.

(4D) If a passenger cannot safely be restrained as required by subrule (2B) or (4C) because of his or her height or weight, he or she must be restrained
as if subrule (4) applied to him or her.

(4E) In the case of a passenger sitting in a seating position that is fitted with a lap and sash type seatbelt, it is sufficient compliance with subrule (2B)(b) or (4)(b)(iii), as the case may be, if, instead of using the sash part of the seatbelt, an approved child safety harness that is properly adjusted and fastened is used to restrain the upper body of the passenger.