New national child restraint laws were introduced in NSW on 1 March 2010. A transitional period was in place until 30 June 2010 to give parents and carers time to fully understand and comply with the new laws. However, all children up to seven years of age must now be safely fastened into the right restraint for their age and size.
A child that is properly secured in an approved child restraint is less likely to be injured or killed in a car crash than one who is not.
Summary of changes
The new national child restraint laws state:
- Children younger than six months must be secured in a rearward facing restraint.
- Children aged six months to under four years must be secured in either a rear or forward facing restraint.
- Children aged four years to under seven years must be secured in forward facing child restraint or booster seat.
- Children younger than four years cannot travel in the front seat of a vehicle with two or more rows.
- Children aged four years to under seven years cannot travel in the front seat of a vehicle with two or more rows, unless all other back seats are occupied by children younger than seven years in a child restraint or booster seat.
Approved rearward-facing restraint
|6 months - 4 years|
Approved rearward or forward-facing restraint
|4 years - 7 years|
Approved forward-facing restraint or booster seat
A summary of the changes is outlined in the child restraint legislation postcard.
More information about choosing the right restraint for a child’s age and size can also be found in the Choose Right. Buckle Right brochure.
Fines and demerit points apply to drivers who fail to ensure all children are appropriately restrained in a vehicle.
Buying a child restraint
Child restraints can be purchased from retail outlets. They can also be hired from some local councils or maternity hospitals, community groups and from privately run rental companies.
Child restraints available in Australia must meet the Australian/New Zealand Standard 1754:2004 Child restraints for use in motor vehicles. The standard is one of the toughest child restraint standards in the world and child restraints manufactured to this Standard offer good protection in a crash.
A significant number of the restraints have been tested and assessed under the Child Restraint Evaluation Programme (CREP).
Find out more about the results of these tests and the guidelines you should follow when buying a child restraint visit www.crep.com.au
Follow all the manufacturer's instructions carefully if you are fitting the restraint yourself. If the instructions have been lost, contact the manufacturer or seek advice from an Roads and Maritime Services (replacing Roads and Traffic Authority) Authorised Fitting Station. Find your nearest Roads and Maritime Services (replacing Roads and Traffic Authority) authorised child restraint fitting station or call 13 22 13.
For a free copy of the brochure A buyer's guide to child restraints call 1800 06 06 07.
- Using a restraint correctly greatly increases a child's safety during a crash.
- Placing a child in a restraint that is designed for a larger/older child increases the risk of serious injury in a crash.
- Ensure the restraint is installed correctly. See a restraint fitter if in any doubt.
- Always use the top tether strap where required.
- Teach your child to always keep both arms within the harness system of the child seat or the seat belt of the booster seat.
- When using a seat belt with a booster, ensure the seat belt is correctly fitted over the child’s shoulder.
- Move your child into a forward-facing restraint only when they no longer fit into a rearward-facing restraint.
- Move your child into a booster seat only when they no longer fit into a forward-facing restraint.
- Always refer to the manufacturer’s instructions.