Choose the right child restraint

Children need different restraints as they grow. The restraint must be the right size for the child, properly adjusted and fastened, and correctly fitted to the vehicle.

It is the law for all children up to the age of 7 to be in a child restraint or booster seat when travelling in a vehicle.

Choosing the right child restraint for your child will depend on their age and size. See Child restraints, booster seats and seat belt readiness [PDF 3.9 Mb]

To keep your child safe, the restraint must also be properly adjusted, fastened, and fitted to the vehicle.

See the videos on how to use child restraints and booster seats (External link).

To help keep your child safe, you need to answer the following questions.

There are road rules about the type of restraint a child must use. Depending on their age they may need to travel in a child restraint, a booster seat or an adult seat belt.

The type of restraint may also depend on the child's size.

There may be times when a child is too heavy or tall for the restraint recommended for their age. In these cases, a child is allowed to use the restraint for children in the next age group.

Choose from the following groups to help you choose the right restraint for your child:

Child restraints must meet the Australian/New Zealand Standard for child restraints (AS/NZS 1754). This standard is one of the most strict child restraint standards in the world.

When buying a child restraint, look for the standards approved sticker and make sure it meets the standard.

Any restraint that is for sale in an Australian retailer has been tested to meet the Australian Standard AS/NZS 1754 and it is therefore safe for use. The restraint will have the Australian Standards '5 tick' sticker on it. If you purchase a restraint online or overseas, it will not have been tested to comply with the Australian Standard and may not be safe for use in Australian conditions. It is not legal to use a restraint in Australia that does not meet the Australian Standards.

A number of child restraints for sale in Australia have been further tested by the child restraint evaluation program (CREP) which helps you to know which child restraints are the safest and easiest to use compared to the others. The testing completed by CREP is to a higher standard than the current Australian standard, so stars are awarded for ease of use and safety. It is important to remember that even a restraint that achieves a 1 star rating for safety under the CREP, is exceeding the Australian Standard for safety, and is a very safe product.

View ChildCar seats website to find and compare the safest child car seats.

Secondhand restraints

If you are thinking of buying or borrowing a secondhand child restraint make sure it is no more than 10 years old and has never been in a serious crash. It must be in good condition with the buckles working properly, and have no signs of wear on the straps, or cracks or stress marks on the plastic shell.

Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions if you are fitting a child restraint to your vehicle.

If you are unsure or need help, visit a child restraint fitting station.

Some restraints may be difficult to fit in smaller vehicles, or vehicles with contouring seats. If possible, try the restraint in your vehicle before you buy it.

If a restraint is not fitted or adjusted correctly, a child is at a higher risk of serious injury or death in a crash.

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