Car Seat Fitting Laws FAQ

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What are the laws regarding child restraints?

In Victoria Consult the Vic-roads websiteIn NSW consult Transport for NSW websiteIn Tasmania Consult Transport for TasmaniaIn Queensland consult Transport and Man Roads WebsiteIn South Australia Consult RAA websiteIn Western Australia Consult RSC Websiteother resources Department Infrastructureneura website

Can I use my 10 year old Baby Car Seat ?

Although there is currently no law prohibiting the use of restraints older than 10 years, it is strongly recommended by the manufacturers not to do so; for the following reasons: It’s not possible to guarantee a restraint that’s older than 10 years will perform as it was originally intended to do so. The Australian Standards have been improved significantly in past years with updates occurring in 2000, 2004, 2010 and 2013. Older restraints will not meet new improved design features. If you choose to use a restraint over 10 years and it fails in a crash, not only are you putting the child at higher risk of injury, but you may also see your insurance payout reduced for failing to follow the recommendations of the manufacturer.

Can I use a Adult Seat Belt at 7 years of age

Children aged 7 years to 16 years of age are required to travel in either an approved Baby Car Seat or a properly adjusted and securely fastened adult seatbelt. The type of Baby Car Seat will depend on the child’s size. The average seven year old cannot fit an adult seat-belt correctly. In fact, most children cannot wear an adult seat-belt correctly in most vehicles until they are 10 to 12 years of age.more information from RAA here.

Approved child restraints comply with Australian Standard AS/NZS 1754 and must be correctly anchored to the vehicle using an Australian Standard’s approved anchorage system.

All child restraints sold in Australia must meet the strict requirements of the AS/NZS 1754 covering the materials, design, construction, performance, testing and labelling of child restraints. A person must not sell, for use in a motor vehicle a child restraint or part that is not approved by Australian Standard 1754.

Restraints bought in other countries will not meet the Australian Standard. It is illegal to use them in Australia.

Restraints approved to an earlier Australian Standard, E46, may also be used but they are not recommended as they are very old and may have deteriorated to the point where they are no longer safe.

Restraints which do not have the australian standards or bureau veritas label

appoved car seat by sai global approved australian standard car seat

In any vehicle with two or more rows of seats, the following restrictions must be adhered to, by law:

Children under the age of 4 must be seated in the rear of the vehicle (where the vehicle has two or more rows of seats).
Children from the age of 4 to 7 years are permitted to sit in the front of the vehicle, but only if all rear seats are already occupied by children up to the same age (where the vehicle has two or more rows of seats).

Note: If you have a small car and it is impossible to fit a third restraint in between two others, then a child between 4 and 7 years can move into the front row providing they are correctly restrained in an age appropriate restraint.

In a vehicle with only one row of seats, it is allowable for children to travel in this row providing they are correctly restrained in a size appropriate, approved child restraint. The restraint must be fitted to the manufacturer’s instructions; including attaching the upper tether to an anchorage point (excludes restraints such as foam boosters that do not feature an upper tether).

Commercial vehicles with only one row of seats, such as vans (eg hiace) and utilities (ford ranger), are not required to have anchorage points. It may be possible to have one fitted. If your vehicle is not fitted with anchor points, contact RAA/ ACRI to find the location of your nearest anchorage installer.

Rearward facing restraints must not be used in a position fitted with an airbag. Child seat manufacturers warn against using restraints in positions fitted with airbags and most vehicle manufacturers warn against placing children under the age of 12 in these positions. As airbags are designed for the safety of adults, these warnings should be followed.