Frequently Asked Questions
The purpose of this 'Frequently Asked Questions' page is to provide answers to the questions most commonly asked by members of the public.
Child car restraint legislation summary
Types of restraints
- Children from birth up to the age of six months must be in a suitable rearward facing restraint.
- Children from six months up to the age of four years must be in either a suitable rearward or forward facing restraint with an inbuilt harness.
- Children from four years up to the age of seven years must be restrained in either a suitable forward facing restraint with an inbuilt harness or a booster seat restrainted by a lap sash seat belt or child safety harness.
All child car restraints must by properly fastened and adjusted.
Children must use a child car restraint that is certified to the Australian Standard AS/NZS1754:1995 or a subsequent standard.
Children must exhaust all options available for their current age group before prematurely considering to use a child car restraint from the next age group.
Seating position summary
- Children under four years are not allowed to sit in the front seat of a vehicle if the vehicle has two or more rows of seats.
- Children aged between four and up to seven years are not permitted to sit in front seats of a vehicle, unless ALL rear seating positions are occupied by children less than seven years of age.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can my child sit in the front seat?
It is not recommended that a child sit in the front seat of a vehicle.
Birth to four years
- Children from birth to four years can not travel in the front seat of a vehicle with two or more rows of seats, however if the vehicle does not have a rear row, this does not apply.
- Rearward facing restraints cannot be used in a front seat where there is a front passenger airbag.
Four years to seven years
- Children from four years to seven years are not allowed to travel in the front seat of a vehicle with two or more rows of seats, unless all the other seats are already occupied by children under seven years of age.
- Remember that every child travelling in the vehicle should be restrained by an appropriate child car restraint.
What is the best child car restraint to buy?
When choosing a child car restraint a variety of considerations need to be made, below is a list of some of the most common:
- All restraints must meet the Australian Standard - AS/NZS 1754 for child car restraints,
- It is recommended that child car restraints older than 10 years are not used,
- The history of the child car restraint should be known, and restraints involved in a moderate to severe crash should not be used,
- Purchase price does not indicate how a child car restraint will perform in a crash, visit Child Car Seats for an unbiased evaluation on protection and ease-of-use for a large range of child car restraints,
- A child car restraint needs to allow enough room for other child car restraints and occupants in the vehicle,
- A chosen child car restraint needs to be able to be installed with minimum movement on the vehicle seat,
- If the child car restraint needs to be moved frequently, ideally choose one that is light and easy to install correctly every time.
When can I move my baby into a forward facing child car restraint?
Moving a child from rearward facing to forward facing earlier than required is not encouraged.
- A rearward facing child car restraint should be used until the child is at least six months old,
- Ideally a child should remain rearward until they reach the upper rearward size limits of the child car restraint,
- They must be rearward facing until they at least meet the minimum size requirements of a child car restraint in forward facing mode.
It should be noted that the harness straps need to be moved to different slot position or height as a child grows. In a rearward facing restraint, the harness straps must be a maximum of 25mm above or level with the child's shoulders, not below.
When can I move my child into a booster seat?
Moving a child from a forward facing restraint to a booster seat earlier than required is not encouraged.
- A child using a forward facing restraint with an inbuilt harness, should continue to do so until they are at least four years of age,
- A child aged four years and above can use a booster seat once the minimum size requirements are met for the booster seat being used,
- Ideally a child should remain in a forward facing child car restraint until they reach the upper size limits of the child car restraint.
Unlike a rearward facing restraint, it is fine for the harness straps of a forward facing child car restraint to range from 25 millimetres below or above the child's shoulders,
When buying a booster, it is recommended that you choose one that has a back, a firm base and side wings, with a sash guide to position the seat belt correctly on the child's shoulder.
When can I move my child to an adult seat belt without a booster?
A booster should be used until:
- The child is at least seven years of age OR the child's shoulders are above the upper limit of all AS/NZS:2010 and 2013 Standard boosters.
- It is recommended that the child is able to pass the 5 Step Test below:
- Can your child sit with their back against the vehicle seat?
- Do your child's knees bend comfortably over the front of the edge of the seat?
- Does the sash belt sit across the middle of your child's shoulder?
- Is the lap belt sitting low across your child's hips and touching their thighs?
- Can your child stay seated like this for the entire trip?
Lap sash seat belts offer far greater protection than lap only belts, putting people in a position that has a lap only belt should be avoided.
Can I use a child car restraint from overseas?
Only restraints that meet the Australian Standard AS/NZS1754 for child restraints can be used in Western Australia.
Child car restraints that are certified to Australian Standard restraints carry an Australian Standards Mark sticker which is marked AS/NZS 1754.
What if a child car restraint has been in a crash?
Child car restraints that have been in a moderate to severe crash should not be used and need to be disposed of.
Regardless of whether the child car restraint was in use at the time of the collision, a moderate to severe crash includes any of the following :
- There were serious injuries to any vehicle occupant;
- Any airbag was deployed;
- There is any visable damage to the child car restraint;
- The vehicle was unable to be driven away from the crash; or
- There was any damage to the door nearest the child car restraint.
A number of insurance companies and child car restraint manufacturers have options for the exchange of child car restraint after a crash.
Can I use a second hand child car restraints?
If you are considering purchasing or using a second hand restraint, you need to be assured of the history of the restraint and that it has not been involved in a moderate to severe crash. It is also recommended that you check the child car restraint for the following items:
- It has a AS/NZS1754 Australian Standards sticker;
- It is less than 10 years old;
- The cover is in good condition;
- There is no fraying or stretching of the harness or top tether;
- The buckle operates easily;
- It has all the parts it was manufactured with;
- The manufactuers instructions are available; and
- It is the correct type of seat for the child.
How do I know if my car has anchor points for a child car restraint?
The best way to check if your car has anchor points for a child car restraint is to check the vehicle owner's manual.
The index will list child car restraints and you can then check where the anchorage points are in your vehicle.
As a quick guide most sedans manufactured after 1st July 1976, station wagons manufactured after 1st January 1977, light passenger vans (up to 12 seats) manufactured after January 1986, 4WDs manufactured after July 1990 and some late model commercial vehicles and utes are likely to have child car restraint anchorage points.
If in doubt, it is recommended to call the vehicle manufacturer for anchorage point locations.
The Department of Transport authorises Type 2 Fitting Stations to install after-market anchorage points, visit Type 2 Child Restraint Fitting Stations for more information.
What if I am travelling in a Taxi with my child?
It is recommended to use a child car restraint whenever possible. Some taxis and on-demand passenger transport services have child car restraints available, however they will usually need to be booked in advance. Alternatively you can take your own child car restraint or hire one to take in the vehicle.
Contact the Child Car Restraint Fitting Information Line
The Child Restraint Information Line telephone number is 1300 780 713. This service operates extended hours from Monday to Friday from 9:00am - 5:00pm (WST).
|Child Car Restraint Fitting Information Line|
||1300 780 713 (WST)
||Extended Monday to Friday 9:00am - 5:00pm