Rear-Facing Down Under


Kidsafe National Child Restraint Guidelines

Posted on December 11, 2013 at 1:10 AM

On 22 October 2013, Kidsafe Australia and Neuroscience Research Australia released their National Child Restraint Guidelines for the safe restraint of children travelling in motor vehicles.

The TEN ESSENTIAL STEPS to the guidelines are as follows:

1. The Use of any restraint is preferable to not using a restraint. It is the law that each person in a motor vehicle has their own restraint.

2. Infants are safest if they remain in their rear facing restraint as long as they still fit in their rear facing restraint. While the law allows children over 6 months to use either a rear facing restraint or a forward facing restraint, the rear facing restraint offers better protection as long as the child fits in it.

3. Once a child is too tall for their rear facing child restraint, they should use a forward-facing child restraint (with built-in 6 point harness) until they are too tall for it. While the law allows children 4 years and older to use either a forward-facing child restraint or a booster seat, the forward-facing child restraint offers better protection as long as the child fits in it.

4. Once a child is too tall for a forward facing child restraint, they should use a booster seat with a lap-sash seat belt until they are tall enough to fit properly into an adult seat belt. While the law allows children 7 years and older to use either a booster seat or a seat belt by itself, a booster seat offers better protection as long as the child fits in it.

5. For a child in a booster seat or an adult seatbelt, use a seating position with a lap-sash (lap and shoulder) belt in preference to one with a lap-only belt.

6. All child restraints and booster seats must be installed correctly and the child strapped in correctly, according to the manufacturer’s instructions:

a) Always use a top tether strap for all rearward facing child restraints, forward facing child restraints and booster seats that have them.

b) Always thread the seatbelt through the correct path (following the colour coding available for newer restraints).

c) Ensure there is no slack or looseness in any part of the system. Check the harness straps around the child, the top tether, the seatbelt anchoring the restraint to the vehicle, and the seatbelt used by a child in a booster seat.

d) Check that the seat belt is buckled before each trip.

7. Children 12 years of age and under are safest in the rear seat.

8. Seat belts should never be used with the sash belt under the child’s arm or behind the child’s back, whether they are being used alone or with a booster seat.

9. When planning any journey with children, use a motor vehicle which allows each child to be in the appropriate restraint for their size.

10. Regularly check that child restraints are correctly installed and that the restraint is adjusted properly for the child's size according to the restraint users' manual. Using a restraint fitting service will help ensure that everything is used correctly and that your child is as safe as possible.

Categories: Standards & Guidelines, Educational Info