Correct use of a child car restraint reduces the risk of death by up to 75%
Children are best protected when they are in the correct child car seat for their size and age.
Information about child car restraint laws and child passenger safety recommendations in Australia can be found under More Information.
Some of the common mistakes that parents make when they put their child in a car seat are listed below. Make sure your child is put in their car seat in the right way so they stay protected if you were to be in a crash.
You can set a good example for your child by wearing your seatbelt. Everyone must wear a seatbelt in Australia.
Look at your car seat instructions and your car owner’s manual for more information on how to install your child’s car seat. Get professional advice if you are unsure.
National Child Restraint Law
|Under 6 months||Rear facing only|
|6 months to 4 years||Rear or forward facing car seat with an inbuilt harness|
It may look like some children who are rear facing don’t have enough room for their legs. However, it is still safest for your child to stay rearward facing for as long as they can.
You can tell if your child is too tall for the restraint if their shoulders are above the maximum shoulder height marker (if marked) or above the top harness strap slot (if not marked).
|4 years to 7 years||Forward facing car seat with an inbuilt harness or a booster seat with a lap and sash seatbelt or an inbuilt harness|
It is safer to use a forward facing car seat and an inbuilt harness for as long as your child fits in it, before moving to a booster seat or a seatbelt.
Children between the ages of 4 and 7 years can only travel in the front seat of a vehicle with 2 or more rows of seats if all other back seats are being used by children younger than 7 years in an approved child restraint or booster seat.
You can tell if your child is too tall for the forward facing harness restraint if their shoulders are above the maximum shoulder height marker (if marked) or 2.5cm above the top shoulder harness strap slot (if not marked).
|Booster seat with a lap and sash seatbelt or an inbuilt harness|
It is safer to use a high back booster seat until your child is too tall for it and can safely pass the 5 step test to use a seatbelt.
Most children will need to use a booster seat until 10-12 years of age.
Booster cushions without a back are no longer made in Australia and are not recommended for use.
Use the 5 step test to decide whether your child is ready to move from a forward facing child restraint to an adult seatbelt. It is important your child can meet all 5 steps so they can’t slide under the seatbelt or get injured from not sitting properly on the seat.
The Child Restraint Evaluation Program provides independent information to help you choose safe child car seats. The program tests child car seats and rates their level of protection in a crash. For more information, visit childcarseats.com.au