Skip links and keyboard navigation

Choosing a child restraint

Browse the links below to find the information you need:

Public warning - unsafe child car restraints sold online

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has issued the following warning about child restraints available through online retailers.

Parents are warned not to purchase a particular type of child car restraint being sold online that appears to breach Australia’s mandatory safety standards.

Marketed under various names, including ‘Baby Car Seat Pouch’, ‘Portable belt baby car safety seat for 1-5 years old’ and ‘Portable baby car safety seat for 20-40 lbs’, these products are sold through some online retailers and pose potential safety hazards and are likely to fail to protect children adequately in an accident.

If you have one of these child car restraints, please stop using it immediately and contact the ACCC on 1300 302 502.

More information on this product warning is available from the ACCC’s Product Safety Australia website.

An image of a rearward facing baby capsule.Road crashes cause many child deaths in Queensland. Children are extremely vulnerable in a crash if they are not using an approved restraint or seatbelt that is fitted correctly.

Some adults mistakenly believe that holding their child in their arms, or including the child in their seatbelt can prevent injuries in a crash. Your body could crush the child if they are sharing your seatbelt. The strength needed to hold a baby in a 50 km/h crash is equivalent to lifting a large washing machine.

You should select a child restraint before the birth of your baby. You will need to check that the restraint fits your vehicle and that your other passengers can still sit comfortably in the vehicle once the restraint is installed.

Your child must be secured in an approved child restraint until they reach their seventh birthday. After this time, your child can be restrained in an adult seatbelt, provided it is safe to do so when considering the size of your child.

When choosing a child restraint, the child's age is the primary factor in determining the correct restraint to use for your child. The size of your child may however, have an impact on what type of child restraint is appropriate.

Guide to selecting a child restraint

The following table is a guide to selecting a suitable child restraint.

A guide to child restraints
It is the law for all children up to seven years old to be correctly restrained according to their age and size.
AgeNew Standard
AS/NZS 1754:2010
Previous Standard*Child restraint
0–6 months If your child has reached this age, they should still use the appropriate restraint until their shoulders reach the upper shoulder height marker.

Babies should stay in a rearward facing restraint as long as their size allows.

Check manufacturer's information and product guidelines to ensure correct usage.

Rearward facing infant restraint
Sleeping baby in rearward facing infant restraint carseat
6 months–4 years If your child has reached this age, they should still use the appropriate restraint until their shoulders reach the upper shoulder height marker. Check manufacturer's information and product guidelines to ensure correct usage.

Rearward facing infant restraint
Rearward facing baby capsule

Forward facing child restraint with built-in harness

Forward facing child restraintForward facing child restraint

4–7 years If your child has reached this age, they should still use the appropriate restraint until their shoulders reach the upper shoulder height marker. Check manufacturer's information and product guidelines to ensure correct usage. Booster seat with lap-sash H-harness or a booster seat with a secured adult seatbelt
Booster seat with a secured adult seatbeltBooster seat with H-harness

*Previous Standards that child restraints may still comply with include:

  • AS 1754:1991
  • AS/NZS 1754:1995
  • AS/NZS 1754:2000
  • AS/NZS 1754:2004

Selecting the appropriate restraint is only the first step in protecting your child. No restraint will work properly or prevent injury if it has not been fitted correctly in accordance with the manufacturer's directions.

Penalties

Under Queensland law, the driver of the vehicle must ensure that all passengers, no matter how young or old, are wearing a correctly fitted child restraint or seatbelt. The penalty for failing to do this may exceed $341 and 3 demerit points.

If more than one seatbelt offence occurs within a 12-month period, the driver will receive another 3 demerit points for the second offence, plus an additional 3 demerit points because the second or subsequent seatbelt offence is within 12 months of the earlier seatbelt offence.

During pregnancy

An image of a pregnant woman in a car, wearing a seatbelt.Your child needs protection even before birth. It is important that pregnant women wear seatbelts correctly. A properly worn seatbelt puts little pressure on the stomach or the unborn child.

Pregnant women must wear the seatbelt with the lap part sitting over their thighs, across the pelvis and below the unborn child. The sash part should be above the stomach and positioned between the breasts.

Types of infant/child restraints available

Infant restraint

Sleeping baby in rearward facing infant restraint carseat

An image of a rearward facing baby capsule. 

Babies under 6 months must be secured in an approved infant restraint. Infant restraints are designed to be installed facing the rear of the vehicle as this is the safest way for a baby to travel. A child should be secured in a rearward facing child restraint up until 6 months of age. The department recommends infants remain in a rearward facing infant restraint as long as their size allows. The restraints must be anchored to the vehicle at 2 points — at the anchor bolt/tether strap and with the seatbelt.

Always check the manufacturer's instructions to find out how to properly install the restraint and how to adjust the harness. Make sure the harness is fitted snugly every time you use the restraint.

Child car seats

An image of a forward facing child restraint.
An image of a forward facing child restraint.
Once your child reaches six months they can start using a forward facing child restraint with a built in harness. However, if your child has not outgrown the rearward facing infant restraint, it is recommended that they remain in the rearward facing infant restraint for as long as their size allows.

Note: Some manufacturers sell child restraints that can be converted to differerent types. For example, lying down or sitting upright. With this type of restraint, the manufacturer may specify different weight ranges (for the child) for the different types of use. A child restraint should never be used outside the range specified by the manufacturer.

A forward facing child restraint with a built-in harness can only be used on forward-facing seats. They are attached by an anchor bolt, a tether strap and the car's seat belt.

Booster seat

An image of a child in a booster seat.Once your child reaches their fourth birthday, and up until they reach 7 years of age, they should use a booster seat with a secured adult lap-sash seatbelt or a booster seat with a H-harness.

Booster seats with a base only are known as booster cushions. These restraints can be used if they comply with Australian Standards. The new 2010 standard excludes booster cushions, so in due course these devices will not be available to purchase new.

A booster seat should only be fitted to a forward-facing seat.

A booster seat enables a child to use an adult lap-sash seatbelt, or a H-harness and lap seatbelt in the centre of a vehicle. The child will then be able to see out of the window and the seatbelt will fit more comfortably.

When using a booster seat with an adult lap-sash seatbelt, make sure the sash part of the seatbelt is not touching the child's neck. In the event of a crash, the back of the car seat provides protection for a child's head against whiplash.

A child is too tall for a booster seat if their eye level is above the top of the booster seat when they are sitting on it. Children using booster seats that comply with the new Australian Standard should remain in the seat until their shoulders reach the upper shoulder height marker.

Booster seat with a H-harness

An image of a child in a booster seat with a H-harness.A H-harness is designed to be used with a centre lap seatbelt or a lap-sash seatbelt.

Booster seats manufactured under the new Standard will be suitable for a child approximately between 4–8 years of age.

The manufacturer's instructions should be followed when a harness is being fitted. When using a harness, you must adjust the seatbelt first so it fits firmly over the child's hips, then tighten the shoulder straps, making sure they are not twisted, and adjust the tether strap.

Incorrect use of booster seat

Image

Description

An image of the incorrect use of a child's car seat.

- The child is too small for an adult seatbelt.

- The seatbelt touches the child's neck.

An image of the incorrect use of a child's car seat.

- The child is too large for the booster seat.

- The child's eye level is above the top of the seat.

Correct use of a seatbelt

Image

Description

An image of the correct use of a child's car seat.

- Correct use of a seatbelt.

- The seatbelt does not touch the child's neck.

- Using an adult lap-sash seatbelt.

- The child is older than 7 years of age.

More information about child restraints rules

Download the following documents for more information about child restraints rules.

Last updated
07 May 2010