Rear-Facing Down Under

australian national child restraint laws

Enforceable across all states and territories of Australia.  Heavy fines apply for failing to restrain children correctly in motor vehicles.  

Approximate ages are the bare minimum legal requirement.  For maximum safety, children should remain in each stage of seat for as long as they fit within the shoulder height markers, and should not be graduated to the next stage of seat prematurely or because they have a birthday.  Doing so can result in serious injuries or death in the event of a car crash.

 

Please see our Australian Car Seat Guide to ensure you purchase the correct seat for your child's age and size. 

 

Newborn to 6 months: 

 

Must be restrained in a suitable and properly fastened and adjusted rearward facing approved child restraint that has an inbuilt harness.

 

Kidsafe Australia recommends: A rearward facing restraint offers better protection than a forward facing restraint for as long as a child fits in one. 

 

6 months to 4 years:

 

Must be restrained in a suitable and properly fastened and adjusted rearward facing OR forward facing approved child restraint that has an inbuilt harness.


Kidsafe Australia recommends: A rearward facing restraint offers better protection than a forward facing restraint for as long as a child fits in one.

 

4 years to 7 years:

 

Must be restrained in a suitable and properly fastened and adjusted approved child restraint that has an inbuilt harness OR be placed in a properly positioned booster seat and be restrained by an approved seat belt that is properly adjusted and fastened.


Kidsafe Australia recommends: A restraint with an inbuilt harness offers better protection than a booster seat for as long as a child fits in one.

 

7 years to 16 years:

 

Must be restrained in a suitable approved child restraint OR booster seat that is properly adjusted and fastened, OR must occupy a seating position that is fitted with a suitable approved seat belt and must wear the seat belt properly adjusted and fastened.

(Minimum height of 145cm recommended to use adult lap/shoulder seat belt alone without booster seat.

 See Five Step Test to use adult seat belt.)


Kidsafe Australia recommends: A child restraint or booster seat offers better protection than just an adult seat belt for as long as a child fits in one.

 

 

Where can they sit?

 

Newborn to 4 years:

 

Must not sit in the front row of a motor vehicle that has 2 or more rows of seats.

4 years to 7 years:

 

Must not sit in the front row of a motor vehicle that has 2 or more rows of seats, unless all other seats are occupied by passengers who are less than 7 years. *

 

* (If a passenger between the ages of 4 to 7 years needs to use the front seat, they MUST use an untethered booster seat, with the front seat moved back as far as possible away from the front airbags.  If a passenger over the age of 7 years needs to use the front seat and they do not pass the Five Step Test to use the adult seat belt alone, they MUST use an untethered booster seat.) 

 

7 years to 16 years:

 

Kidsafe Australia recommends that children under the age of 12 years are safest sitting in the back seat of a vehicle.  Children under the age of 12 are at risk of severe injuries sitting in the front seat of a vehicle due to front airbag deployment in a crash. 

 

 

Approved Child Restraint

 

An approved child restraint is one that carries the Australian Standards AS/NZS 1754 Five Tick Sticker.  Overseas seats are not approved for use in Australia.

 

Do not use child restraints that are older than 10 years from the date of manufacture. The plastics and other components can degrade over time, and their safety can no longer be guaranteed.  These must be destroyed.

 

Do not use child restraints that have been involved in a motor vehicle crash.  They can contain hairline fractures that are invisible to the naked eye.  They are no longer safe to be used.  These must be destroyed.

 

If using a second-hand child restraint, ensure that you know the history of the restraint, that it is less than 10 years from the date of manufacture, and that it contains all the instructions, parts and labels. 

 

For a full copy of the Australian Road Rules  

Wearing of seatbelts by passengers under 16 years old (Page 238, Part 16, Rule 266)   

STATE LAWS & CHILD RESTRAINT FITTING STATIONS

For individual state laws, or if you are unsure of how to install a child restraint correctly, click on a link below to find an Authorised Child Restraint Fitting Station in your local state or territory.

 

ACT:

Rego ACT

Kidsafe ACT

  

NSW:

Transport NSW

Kidsafe NSW

  

QLD:

Transport QLD

Kidsafe QLD

 

SA:

Transport SA

Kidsafe SA

  

TAS:

Transport TAS

Kidsafe TAS

 

VIC:

Roads VIC

Kidsafe VIC

  

WA:

Road Safety WA

Kidsafe WA

 

NT:

Road Safety NT

Kidsafe NT

 

 

CHANGE THE LAW!  KEEP BABIES REAR-FACING FOR LONGER

Please sign our petition to the Australian Government to change the law to keep babies legally rear-facing until a minimum of 12 months of age:

SIGN THE PETITION