Child Restraint Laws in Australia
All children must be safely fastened in the correct child car seat for their age and size. A child who is properly secured in an approved child car seat is less likely to be injured or killed in a car crash than one who is not.
Child car seats bought overseas are illegal to use in Australia as they do not comply with AS/NZS 1754, the Australian/New Zealand Standard for child car seats. AS/NZS 1754 is one of the most stringent child car seat standards in the world. Unlike the European standard, the Australian/New Zealand Standard requires all child car seats to be tested in side and frontal impact tests, and some with inverted tests for roll-over protection. In addition, all rearward and forward facing child car seats meeting the Australian/New Zealand Standard (AS/NZS 1754) must have a top tether strap.
|Newborn – 6 Months||Must be in a rearward facing seat|
|6 Months – 4 Years||Must be in a rear or forward facing child seat with an inbuilt harness|
|4 Years – 7 Years||Must be in a forward facing child seat with inbuilt harness or a booster seat|
|7 Years – 16 Years||Recommended to be in a booster seat if child’s height is under 145cm.|
For law enforcement purposes the regulations state ‘AGE’, but the shoulder height markers give a closer indication of the correct usage of the restraint, which is based on the size of your child. Your child should not be moved up to the next category of child restraint until their shoulders are at or over the applicable shoulder height marker.
While it is not illegal for you to move your child up to the next category of restraint once their age allows, or turn them forward facing once they reach 6 months old, it’s strongly recommend you follow the recommendation of the shoulder height markers for the optimal level of safety for your child.
The latest Australian Standard – AS/NZS1754:2013 – builds upon the 2010 version of the Standard, which introduced a new way to categorize Child Restraints.
Child Restraints were originally categorized by the mass (weight) of the child. Mass-based categories are no longer used in this Standard and have been replaced by;
- Approximate age ranges.
- Shoulder Height labels to show the height limits, of the child’s shoulders, in the child restraint.
If your child is too large for the child restraint specified for their age, they may move to the next level of child restraint.