Is your child in the right car safety seat?

It can be tricky to work out which car seat is correct for the size and age of your child, and when it's time to move to the next stage.

Child Restraint law in Queensland & what's safest

The type of child restraint best suited to your child will depend on BOTH the child's age, and their size.

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Babies up to 6 months old

What the law says:

"Babies up to 6 months of age must be in an approved rear-facing restraint that is properly fastened and adjusted. We recommend babies stay in a rear-facing restraint for as long as their size allows."

What's safest:

A correctly adjusted baby capsule or rearward facing convertible car seat is the best option for your baby. It is important to frequently adjust the inbuilt harness as babies grow very fast for the first 6-12 months.

It is recommended to continue using a rearward facing restraint until the child's shoulders meet the shoulder height indicators indicating that car seat has been outgrown in rearward facing mode.

Low birth weight and premature babies are best suited to a infant carrier capsule specifically designed for premature babies such as the Britax Unity.

 

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Babies and children - 6 months to 4 years

What the law says:

"Babies and children from 6 months and up to 4 years must be in an approved child restraint that is properly adjusted and fastened. The child restraint may be rear-facing or forward-facing with a built-in harness. However, we recommend babies and children stay in a rear-facing restraint for as long as their size allows."

What's safest:

Children are safest travelling in appropriately adjusted rearward facing restraint up until age four. It's important to follow the shoulder height markers to determine when rearward facing mode is outgrown.

Once they have outgrown the shoulder height markers, children should remain in a child car seat using an inbuilt harness until at least age four.

A correctly used and adjusted child car seat offers the best protection.

 

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Children - 4 to 7 years

What the law says:

"Children aged 4 years and up to 7 years may be in an approved child restraint that is forward-facing with a built-in harness that is properly adjusted and fastened. They may also be in an approved booster seat secured with an adult lap-sash seatbelt or a fastened and adjusted H-Harness. However, research has indicated that the booster seat with a H-Harness option provides a lower level of safety in some types of crashes."

What's safest:

Children should remain in their forward facing car seat with an inbuilt harness until outgrown.

A booster seat that positions the vehicle seatbelt correctly across the child may be used if the child's shoulders meet or exceed the minimum shoulder height marker, and the child has the maturity to remain seated and not lean forward during travel.

A car seat with an inbuilt harness is often the best option for children who do not have the maturity to remain seated during travel, or who attempt to twist and wriggle whilst in the car.

 

booster cushion

Booster cushions

What the law says:

"A booster cushion is a booster seat without the back and side wings. A child aged 4 years and up to 7 years may use an Australian standard approved booster cushion, secured with an adult lap-sash seatbelt or a fastened and adjusted H-Harness.

Booster cushions are legal to use providing they complied with the Australian standard AS/NZS 1754 at the time of manufacture. The booster cushion should have a sticker showing approval and a date stamp for when it was manufactured. We recommend child booster cushions be less than 10 years old."

What's safest:

Australian standard booster cushions are no longer manufactured or recommended. Whilst still legal to use, booster cushions have a relatively low weight limit and do not offer the side impact protection that is offered by a high-backed booster.

when to stop using a booster seat

Children & Preteens - 7 years and over

What the law says:

"Children who are 7 years and over may sit in a standard seat with an adult seatbelt, or an approved booster seat/cushion secured with an adult lap-sash seatbelt or an H-Harness. Or, they may be in an approved child restraint that is forward-facing with a built-in harness that is properly adjusted and fastened."

What's safest:

Children and preteens should remain in a booster seat until they're able to correctly fit an adult seat belt. This often occurs when the child measures 145cm in height (approximately 11 years of age). To determine if a child is able to safely sit using an adult seatbelt, check that they pass the 5-step test.

The age indicated by law is the absolute bare minimum. It comes down to size rather than age.

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The front seat

What the law says:

Cars with more than 1 row of seats

Babies and children up to 4 years old must not sit in the front seat.
Children aged 4 and up to 7 years can only sit in the front seat if all other seats are occupied by children under 7 years of age.
Children 7 years and over can sit in the front seat.

Cars with only 1 row of seats

Children of any age can sit in the front seat as long as they are properly restrained.
If a car has a passenger airbag, a rear-facing child restraint shouldn't be used in the front seat if the restraint is positioned close to the airbag.

What's safest:

Children and preteens should remain in a the back seat whenever possible - even after they moved out of a booster seat. Many vehicle manufacturers advise against front seat passengers under the age of 12 years.

The front seat presents increased risk to all passengers with many vehicle airbags ejecting at forces designed to offer protection to large adult males. The force of an ejecting airbag is often at face height for a child or preteen, rather than at torso height as designed for a fully grown adult.

National Child Restraint Best Practice Guidelines

"The National Guidelines for the Safe Restraint of Children Travelling in Motor Vehicles have been developed under the auspices of Neuroscience Research Australia (NeuRA) and Kidsafe – The Child Accident Prevention Foundation of Australia. They provide best practice recommendations for how to safely transport children in motor vehicles. The 2021 edition of the guidelines are a major update from the previous guidelines published in 2013."

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National Child Restraint Best Practice Guidelines

"The National Guidelines for the Safe Restraint of Children Travelling in Motor Vehicles have been developed under the auspices of Neuroscience Research Australia (NeuRA) and Kidsafe – The Child Accident Prevention Foundation of Australia. They provide best practice recommendations for how to safely transport children in motor vehicles. The 2021 edition of the guidelines are a major update from the previous guidelines published in 2013."

Need help? Book a car seat consultation at a time to suit you

We can show you a range of options to restrain your child in the car in keeping with both the law and best practice guidelines. The safest of your children is of great importance to us - We're here to help you!

We can try our best to work with existing car seats you own wherever possible.

child restraint law in queensland
child restraint law in queensland
child restraint law in queensland
child restraint law in queensland
child restraint law in queensland
child restraint law in queensland
child restraint law in queensland
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