There are laws in place that perhaps we are unaware of that most importantly, save our children but also make sure we are aware of the needs of our children in the car. This post is here to increase our awareness of child car seat laws and also to ensure we are not caught off-guard with unnecessary fines.
Approximately 400 children in Australia are killed or injured in car crashes each year because of incorrectly fitted child car seats.
New Child Car Seat Laws
In 2009 new laws come into play around child safety restraints. It is the driver’s responsibility to ensure that passengers under 16 years of age are properly restrained in a seat belt or approved child restraint. Child restraints must be suitable for the child’s size and weight and be properly fitted and adjusted.
Approved restraints carry the Australian Standards AS 1754 sticker.
This law states that children under one year must be carried in an approved child restraint suitable for the child’s size and weight, properly fitted and adjusted. Changes to the legislation starting 9 November 2009 mean that, children under seven years of age must use a child restraint or booster seat when traveling in a car.
Child car seat laws will require:
- Children aged under 6 months must use an approved, properly fastened and adjusted rearward facing restraint
- Children aged between 6 months and under 4 years must use an approved, properly fastened and adjusted rearward facing child restraint OR a forward facing restraint
- Children aged between 4 years and under 7 years must use an approved, properly fastened and adjusted forward facing restraint or a an approved booster seat which is properly positioned and fastened.
There are also new laws for where children can sit in vehicles:
- If a car has two or more rows of seats, then children under 4 years must not travel in the front seat
- If all seats, other than the front seats, are being used by children under 7 years, children aged between four and six years (inclusive) may travel in the front seat, provided they use an approved restraint or booster that is properly fitted.
Exemptions to child car seat laws apply if:
- a child under one is traveling in a taxi and a suitable restraint is not available, provided the child does not travel in the front seat
- a child is traveling in a police or emergency vehicle
- a child has a medical condition or physical disability that makes it impractical to use a child restraint, and the driver has a certificate from a doctor indicating this is the case
There are penalties for drivers who do not ensure that their passengers, under the age of 16, are properly restrained. Make sure you check the regulations in your State.
Image from ParentHacks.com