<< Home | ACT Road Rules   

Licences
Moving to the ACT?


change of address







  
  

Road User Services is committed to ensuring that all our content is accessible to everyone who wishes to access it. If there is data on this site that is in a format you cannot access, or if you experience other accessibility difficulties, please phone Canberra Connect on 13 22 81. For further information on accessible content please visit http://www.justice.act.gov.au/accessibility
 

 

 

Frequently Asked Questions about the new Child Restraint Rules

View the carrying children safely in cars flyer

Will the new child restraint laws apply if I travel interstate?

Yes.  If you are travelling interstate with children under the age of 7 years, you will need to comply with the new nationally agreed child restraint laws:

  • Victoria introduced the new child restraint laws on 9 November 2009.
  • Tasmania introduced the new child restraint laws on 30 November 2009.
  • NSW introduced the new child restraint laws on 1 March 2010.
  • Queensland introduced the new child restraint laws on 11 March 2010.
  • South Australia introduced the new child restraint laws on 1 July 2010.
  • Western Australia introduced the new child restraint laws on 1 October 2010.

What is an 'approved' child restraint or booster seat?

Approved child restraints and booster seats are those that meet the requirements of the Australian/New Zealand Standard (AS/NZS) 1754.  This should be clearly stated on the child restraint or booster seat and on the packaging.  Child restraints and booster seats from overseas do not usually comply with the Australian/New Zealand Standard (AS/NZS) 1754.  If there is no label or sticker on the child restraint or booster seat stating that it complies with AS/NZS 1754, it is not an approved restraint and cannot be used in Australia.

Can I use a booster cushion instead of a booster seat?

If the booster cushion complies with the Australian/New Zealand Standard (AS/NZS) 1754, it may be used by your child.  However, research has shown that booster seats provide a higher level of safety than booster cushions in some types of crashes. 

What if my child is too big for a child restraint with an in-built harness?

While the new child restraint laws aim to cater for the majority of children, a provision has been included to ensure a child is not required to use a child restraint that is unsuitable for their height or weight. 

There are now two types of child restraints with an in-built harness available:

  • Child restraints manufactured under the standard AS/NZS 1754:2004 have an 18kg maximum weight limit, which is stated on the child restraint.  In addition, a child is too tall for this restraint if the child's eye level is level with or above the top of the child restraint.
  • Child restraints manufactured under the new standard AS/NZS 1754:2010 do not refer to the child's weight, but have height indicators on the restraint that provide a minimum and maximum shoulder height restriction.  No maximum weight is specified on the child restraint by the manufacturer.  Restraints that comply with the new standard will progressively become available throughout 2011.

A child between 6 months and under 4 years who is too heavy or too tall for either type of child restraint with an in-built harness should use the restraint for the next age category, which is a booster seat with a lap/sash seatbelt.

What if my child is too big for a booster seat?

While the new child restraint laws aim to cater for the majority of children, a provision has been included to ensure a child is not required to use a booster seat that is unsuitable for their height or weight.

There are now two types of booster seats available:

  • Booster seats manufactured under the standard AS/NZS 1754:2004 have a 26kg maximum weight limit, which is stated on the booster seat.  In addition, a child is too tall for this booster seat if the child's eye level is level with or above the top of the booster seat.
  • Booster seats manufactured under the new standard AS/NZS 1754:2010 do not refer to the child's weight, but have height indicators on the restraint that provide a minimum and maximum shoulder height restriction.  No maximum weight is specified on the booster seat by the manufacturer.  Booster seats that comply with the new standard will progressively become available throughout 2011.

A child between 4 years and under 7 years who is too heavy or too tall for either type of booster seat should use the restraint for the next age category, which is 'a suitable seatbelt'.

Why do the new child restraint laws refer to age, rather than height or weight?

Research indicates that rules specifying child restraint usage by age will result in the smallest number of children being inappropriately restrained, rather than if the rules specified height or weight requirements.  The rules are easier for parents and carers to understand if they are written in terms of age.

Under the new child restraint laws, will I still be able to carry children in the additional seat (dickie seat) installed in the back of my station wagon?

Yes, dickie seats are permitted for use by children aged between 4 years and under 7 years provided the seat is suitable for the child's height and weight and a lap/sash seatbelt or a lap only seatbelt with a child safety harness (H-harness) is used.  This exemption for dickie seats has been nationally agreed. 

Can I use an integrated booster cushion/ seat?

An integrated (or integral) booster cushion is forward facing and is built into some vehicles by the vehicle manufacturer.  The occupant minimum and maximum weight restrictions for integrated booster cushions are specified in the vehicle owner's manual.

An integrated booster cushion is considered to be an Approved Booster Seat under the ACT's road transport laws and can therefore be used by a child aged 4 years to under 7 years.  For children aged 7 years and over, it is recommended that the child continues to use the integrated booster cushion until he or she reaches the maximum weight restriction as specified in the vehicle owner's manual.

Note:  The integrated booster cushion must comply with clause 34.8 of the Australian Design Rule 34/01 - Child Restraint Anchorages and Child Restraint Anchor Fittings to be permitted for use in the ACT.

What is the difference between an in-built harness and a child safety harness (H-harness)?

An in-built harness is included as part of the child restraint at the time of manufacture.  Child restraints with an in-built harness are suitable for most children between the ages of 6 months and under 4 years.  A child safety harness (H-harness) is purchased separately and consists of restraining straps designed to hold your child's upper body.  It can be used with a booster seat or on its own.  The child safety harness must be attached to an anchor point and used with a lap only or a lap/sash seatbelt.  It is suitable for children that are between 14kg and 32kg.

If my child is in a booster seat do they also need to be in a child safety harness (H-harness)?

Booster seats do not come with a child safety harness (H-harness).  Booster seats are designed to be used with a lap/sash seatbelt.  However, if your child is using a seating position fitted with a lap only seatbelt then they must use a child safety harness.

For a child sitting in a booster seat in a seating position with a lap/sash seatbelt, the new laws allow an approved child safety harness to be used to restrain the upper body of the child, instead of using the sash part of the seatbelt.

I have a lap only seatbelt in the centre of the back seat of my vehicle.  Can I use a booster seat here?

If your child is between 4 years and under 7 years of age, you can use a booster seat with a child safety harness (H-harness) in this seating position. 

Is it possible to fit three child restraints across the back seat of my car?

There is considerable variation in the types of child restraints and booster seats available.  It will depend on the type chosen, as well as the combination of restraints required, and the make and model of your car.  You will also need to find out whether there are enough anchorage points in your vehicle with which to fit the restraints.  If you are unsure where the anchorage points are located in your vehicle, refer to the vehicle owner's manual under the section of 'Child Restraints' or 'Child Restraint Anchorage Systems'.

If I can't fit my three children in three restraints in the back seat of my car, is it okay if one child sits in the front seat?

Yes, provided the child is between 4 years and under 7 years of age.  If there are two child restraints or booster seats in the rear seat and there is not enough space to put a third child restraint or booster seat in the rear seat, then a passenger aged between 4 years and under 7 years can be in a booster seat in the front seat.  You will need to use a booster seat that does not need to be anchored. 

Can a child restraint be fitted in the front seat of a van or utility?

It is legal to fit a child restraint with an in-built harness in the front of a van or utility that has only one row or seats provided there is a seatbelt and a child restraint anchorage point available.  If there is a passenger airbag in the seating position occupied by the child, you must
not use a rearward facing infant restraint.

Children aged from 4 years to under 7 years may travel in a booster seat and a lap/sash seatbelt in the front of a van or utility that has only one row of seats.  Most booster seats do not require an anchorage point because they do not have a top tether strap.  However, if you are using a booster seat that is fitted with a top tether strap, it must be secured to an anchorage point.

Where can I go to get child restraint anchorage points installed in my vehicle?

Kidsafe ACT administers a list of approved child restraint anchorage fitters.  Phone Kidsafe on (02) 6290 2244.

My child can undo the child restraint buckle or seatbelt.  What can I do?

There are various products available on the market designed to stop children from undoing their child restraint buckle or seatbelt.  Contact your child restraint retailer or Kidsafe ACT on (02) 6290 2244 for further information on these products.

Is it okay to use a child restraint or booster seat that is 10 years old or older?

If a child restraint or booster seat is more than 10 years old, manufacturers generally recommend that these restraints not be used.  However, the child restraint laws do not prohibit the use of restraints more than 10 years old.  All restraints have date stamps showing when they were manufactured.

Do we need a child restraint in a taxi?

The ACT's laws do not mandate the use of a baby capsule, child restraint or booster seat in a taxi.  In the ACT, taxi drivers are exempt from the child restraint laws that apply to the carriage of children under 7 years in motor vehicles, where a suitable baby capsule, child restraint or booster seat is not available.  However, a child under the age of 7 years must not be carried in the front seat of a taxi.  The road transport laws require that all taxis must be fitted with at least one child restraint anchorage bolt, so that a person in charge of a young child may provide his or her own baby capsule, child restraint or booster seat for installation in the taxi.  If you can, take your child's restraint with you.  Most ACT taxis carry a child safety harness (H-harness) which can be used without a booster seat.

Do buses need to provide child restraints?

A bus that has 13 or more seats, including the driver, does not need to be fitted with seatbelts and child restraints are not required.  The new child restraint and seatbelt laws do apply to a minibus (other than a public minibus) that has 12 seats or less, including the driver, as these vehicles do not meet the definition of a 'bus' in the Australian Road Rules and are therefore not exempt from the laws.  All passengers must use a suitable approved child restraint, booster seat or seatbelt, depending on their age.

Do the new child restraint laws apply to Veteran, Vintage and Historic motor vehicles?

Yes.  From 15 March 2011, the new child restraint laws for children under 7 years apply to all motor vehicles, regardless of when the vehicle was built. 

Can children under 7 years be carried in vehicles that have side facing seats with lap only seatbelts (Troop carriers)?

Children under the age of 7 years cannot be carried on side facing seats with lap only seatbelts.  Child restraints with an in-built harness must be either rearward facing or forward facing.  The appropriate restraint for children between the ages of 4 years and under 7 years is a booster seat.  A booster seat cannot be used with a lap only seatbelt unless a H-harness is used and a H-harness cannot be fitted to a side facing seat.

At what age can a child legally sit in the front seat of a vehicle?

Children aged 7 years and above can legally sit in the front seat of a vehicle provided they are restrained in a lap/sash seatbelt.  A child aged between 4 years and under 7 years may travel in the front seat of a vehicle if all the other seats are being used by children under 7 years and the child in the front seat is restrained in an approved booster seat and a lap/sash seatbelt.

 


Information

Postal Address
Road Transport Authority
PO Box 582
DICKSON ACT 2602
Street Address
Dickson Motor Registry
13-15 Challis Street
DICKSON ACT 2602
Opening Hours
8:15 - 5:00   Monday to Friday
Phone for General Enquiries
13 22 81
Phone for Website Difficulties
13 22 81
Fax
(02) 6207 7120
Email Address
rus@act.gov.au

 
                                  Privacy Statement  |  Copyright notice  |  Disclaimer notice  |  Link to this Site  |  Last Updated on: Monday 30 October 2006