Children from birth to 4 years

If your child is under 4 years old, they must travel in a rear facing or forward facing child restraint. The type will depend on their age and size.

Rear facing child restraints are designed so your child is facing towards the back of your vehicle when you are driving. They give the best support and protection to a child’s head and neck in a crash.

When using a rear facing child restraint it must:

  • be securely attached to the seat by the seat belt
  • have its top tether strap attached
  • have an inbuilt harness.

When putting the inbuilt harness on your child, its straps must be level with, or above your child’s shoulders.

You should move your child to a forward facing child restraint with an inbuilt harness if their shoulders:

  • are above the highest slot for the harness, or
  • have reached the shoulder height marker available on some restraints.

Some rear facing child restraints can be turned around and used as a forward facing child restraint. Check the restraint's instruction manual to find out if and how you can do this.

Rear facing child restraint

Once your child is too big for their rear facing child restraint, they are ready to move to a forward facing restraint.

When using a forward facing child restraint it must:

  • be securely attached to the seat by the seat belt
  • have its top tether strap attached
  • have an inbuilt harness.

When putting the inbuilt harness on your child, its straps must come out of the slots just above their shoulders. If the straps are more that 25mm below your child's shoulders you will need to move the straps to a higher slot.

You should move your child to a larger forward facing child restraint with an inbuilt harness or a booster seat if their shoulders:

  • are above the highest slot for the harness, or
  • have reached the shoulder height marker available on some restraints.
Forward facing child restraint

Children under 6 months

Children aged under 6 months must use a rear facing child restraint.

Children aged 6 months to 4 years

Children aged 6 months to under 4 years must use either:

  • a rear facing child restraint , or
  • a forward facing child restraint with an inbuilt harness.

Children of this age grow at different rates. Therefore you need to choose the type of restraint that is best for your child's size.

Even if your child is 6 months old they may not be ready to travel in a forward facing child restraint. We recommend you keep your child in their rear facing restraint until they are too big for it.

Front or back seat?

Children under the age of 4 years must only travel in the back seat of a vehicle.

If your vehicle does not have a back seat (e.g. a ute) they can travel in the front seat if they are in a child restraint. However, rear facing child restraints can't be used in the front seat if it has an airbag.

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