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Child restraints

Children up to 7 years old must sit in an Australian-Standard-approved restraint.

You must only use restraints that are Australian-Standard-approved. It is recommended that you use a child restraint that is less than 10 years old. The restraint will have a sticker showing approval and have a date stamp for when the restraint was manufactured.

Don’t use a child restraint that has been in a crash. If you use a second hand child restraint, make sure you get a copy of the manufacturer’s instructions for that restraint, so you understand how to use it safely.

Children 7 years and over must use a seatbelt or a booster seat (if they are small for their age).

In addition to the safety risks, if a child isn’t secured correctly in a car, the driver can be fined $353 and lose 3 demerit points.

Where children should sit

Cars with more than 1 row of seats

  • Babies and children up to 4 years old must not sit in the front seat.
  • Children aged between 4 and 7 years can only sit in the front seat if all other seats are occupied by children under 7 years of age.
  • Children over 7 years can sit in the front seat.

Cars with only 1 row of seats

  • Children of any age can sit in the front seat as long as they are properly restrained.
  • If a car has 1 row of seats and a passenger airbag, a rear-facing child restraint shouldn't be used if the restraint is positioned close to the airbag.

Motorcycles

Children must be at least 8 years old to be a passenger on a motorcycle, and they must wear a secure fitting, Australian Standard approved motorcycle helmet.

Types of child restraints

The type of child restraint you install will depend mainly on the child's age, but you may need to consider the child's size.

Baby under 6 months old secured in a rear-facing child restraint

Babies up to 6 months old

Babies must be in an approved rear-facing restraint that is properly fastened and adjusted. They should stay in a rear-facing restraint for as long as their size allows.

You can hire a rear-facing restraint from Kidsafe Queensland.

Babies and children—6 months to 4 years

Booster integrated belt

Babies and children must be in an approved rear- or forward-facing restraint with a built-in harness that is properly adjusted and fastened.



Children—4 to 7 years

Child aged between 4 and 7 years secured in an approved booster seat using a lap-sash seatbelt

Children must be in an approved booster seat secured with an adult lap-sash seatbelt. An alternative is a booster seat with a fastened and adjusted H-Harness but recent research has indicated that this provides a lower level of safety in some types of crashes.





When to move to the next type of restraint

Australian Standards approved forward-facing child restraint showing the shoulder height markings

If your child restraint complies with the latest version of the Australian Standard it will have markings on the seat that show the upper and lower seated shoulder height of the child. You can move your child to the next type of restraint when your child’s seated shoulder height is above the top mark on the restraint.

If your child restraint complies with an older Australian Standard, your child can move to the next type of restraint when:

  • their eye level is above the back of the restraint
    or
  • the harness straps are more than 25mm below the child’s shoulder height.

Installing a child restraint

You should always read the manufacturer’s instructions when installing a child restraint. Check your vehicle owner’s manual to find out where the anchor points are located in your car.

For a fee, you can get your child restraint installed at:

Exemptions from using a restraint or seatbelt

Public transport

Child restraints are not required to be used on buses and trains.

Taxi companies aren’t required to supply child restraints. However, some may offer this service. You may be able to pre-book a taxi with a child restraint, or you can use your own child restraint.

Medical conditions

If your child has a medical condition or a physical disability that prevents them from using a child restraint or seatbelt, you should discuss this with your doctor. If the doctor believes it is necessary, they may provide an exemption from wearing a seatbelt.

The driver must carry this certificate and provide it to the police if asked.

Read more about child restraints (PDF, 441KB) and how they should be used.

Last updated
8 January 2016

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