Child Car Restraints

Children are our most vulnerable road users. To keep children safe on our roads Kidsafe SA recommends the following for transporting children in vehicles:

  • Children as passengers in a vehicle should be seated in the most appropriate child car restraint for their age and size.
  • Buckle up every child on every trip.
  • Ensure you use a correctly fitted child car restraint most appropriate for your child’s age and size.
  • All child car restraints must meet the Australian Standards AS/NZS 1754.
  • Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions when using your child car restraint.
  • If you are using a second hand child car restraint, ensure you know the history of the restraint and that it is less than 10 years of age and has not been involved in a car accident.
  • Child car restraints must be installed in the second row of seats in a vehicle. For further information please contact Kidsafe SA.
  • Ensure your child has exceeded the maximum size limits of the restraint before progressing them to the next stage
WHICH RESTRAINT DO I USE FOR MY CHILD?
0 - 6 months of age: 

Must use a rearward facing restraint that is properly fitted to the vehicle and adjusted to fit the child’s body correctly.

Must not travel in the front seat of a vehicle that has a back row or rows of seats.

Best Practice Recommendations

Keep your baby in a rearward-facing child car restraint until they have reached the maximum size limits.

Why? Infants have relatively large heads and weak necks which put them at particularly high risk of serious injuries. Rear facing restraints provide the required head and neck support that a child needs.

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6 Months - 4 Years

Use either a rearward facing restraint OR a forward facing child restraint with an inbuilt harness, that is properly fitted to the vehicle and adjusted to fit the child’s body correctly.

Not travel in the front seat of a vehicle that has a back row or rows of seats.

Best Practice Recommendations

Keep your child in a forward facing child restraint with an inbuilt harness until the child reaches the maximum size limit of the restraint before progressing to the next stage.

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4 - 7 Years

Use either a forward facing child restraint with inbuilt harness OR a booster seat with a properly fasted and adjusted seatbelt.

Not travel in the front seat of a vehicle that has a back row or rows of seats unless all the other back seats are occupied by children who are also under 7 years of age.

Best Practice Recommendations

Keep your child in a child car restraint until they reach the maximum size limit of the restraint.

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Over 7 Years

Use either a booster seat with a properly fastened and adjusted adult seatbelt OR an adult seat with an adult seatbelt.

Best Practice Recommendations

Check to see if they can safely use an adult seatbelt or if a booster seat is still needed, even if they have turned 7 years of age.

If your child has outgrown the child car restraint with the inbuilt harness or the dedicated booster seat please carry out the 'five step test' to ensure your child is ready to comfortably sit with an adult seatbelt.

Although a child aged over 7 can legally ride in the front passenger seat of a vehicle with two or more rows of seats, it is recommended that children under 13 years of age always use the rear seats first.

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When is my child ready for an adult seatbelt?

Use the 5 Step Test to see if your child is ready to move into an adult seatbelt.

  1. Can the child sit with their back against the vehicle seat back?
  2. Do the child's knees bend in front of the edge of the seat?
  3. Does the sash belt sit low across the middle of the shoulders?
  4. Is the lap belt sitting low across the hips touching the thighs?
  5. Can the child stay seated like this for the whole trip?

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Second hand car restraints

Second hand car restraints should be used with caution. If you are considering using a second hand restraint there are a few things to consider, including:

  • Does the restraint meet the AS/NZS 1754? This information can be found on the restraint.
  • Are you aware of the history of the restraint? Restraints that have been involved in a moderate to severe crash should not be used.
  • Does the restraint come with all parts, including the instruction booklet?
  • Is the restraint less than 10 years old? Child restraints over 10 years old should not be used – you can find the date of manufacture printed on the restraint.
  • Is the restraint in good condition with no splits, cracks or stress marks on the restraint shell and no frayed, worn or damaged straps?

Still unsure which child restraint is best for your child?

For further information about child car restraints, please contact Kidsafe SA on (08) 8161 6318.

Need a restraint professionally fitted?

Contact us and we can point you in the right direction.