Whenever children are in a car, they should be safely buckled-up in child restraints that are correct for each child’s size and weight. It is recommended that all restraints are properly fitted and checked by an Authorised Restraint Fitter.
Children should NEVER be left alone in a car, even for short periods. They are in danger of:
- Heat stress and dehydration - parked cars can heat up very quickly, even with windows wound down slightly.
- Burns from hot seatbelt buckles and vinyl fittings.
- Playing with car controls - such as hand brakes, gear levers, cigarette lighters, power windows and the ignition.
- Car thieves.
It is illegal to leave a child unattended in a vehicle in circumstances where the child may be placed in distress or their health is in danger.
Sometimes children won’t want to buckle up. They may not understand the safety reasons, or they may be restless or just want to do it their way.
In these situations, it is important to have family rules about safe driving, to talk about them with the children and then stick to them - every time you are in the car.
Use these road safety messages with young children:
- “When everyone is buckled up, we can go.”
- “If anyone isn’t properly buckled up, we stop.”
- “Whether you are awake or asleep, you stay buckled up until we get there.”
- “I will help you unbuckle your seat belt.”
- “I will help you out through the Safety Door of the car.”
When buckling children in, or driving them around, talk to them about:
- Car seats and how seat belts keep us safe.
- The Safety Door and why it is the safest door to get in and out of the car.
- Why children can never stay in the car alone.
For activities about passenger safety and a free Safety Door sticker for your car, call Roads and Maritime Services on 1800 06 06 07.
The Safety Door is the rear door, closest to the kerb, footpath or gutter and away from the road.
For more information on the correct restraint for your child and details of Roads and Maritime Services Authorised Fitting Stations, phone Roads and Maritime Services Call Centre on 13 22 13.