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Child restraints

Exemptions from complying with standard child restraint laws

Public transport

Child restraints are not required on buses and trains. A bus is a motor vehicle that can carry 13 or more people (including the driver).

Personalised transport services, such as taxi, limousine and ride-booking services, aren't required to supply child restraints to their customers. However, given enough notice, you may be able to pre-book one of these services with a child restraint. Alternatively you can supply and use your own child restraint.

Medical conditions and disabilities

Temporary exemption for a child with a medical condition or a physical disability that are not able to use a compliant child restraint or seatbelt

If your child has a temporary medical condition or a physical disability that prevents them from using a compliant child restraint or seatbelt, you should discuss this with your doctor. The doctor may provide a certificate advising that your child should not wear a child restraint or seatbelt due to their medical condition and provide instruction for how they should be safely transported in a vehicle. This certificate may only be issued for a maximum of 12 months. Any driver who has your child as a passenger must carry this certificate and provide it to the police if asked.

Long term exemption for a child with a medical condition or a physical disability that cannot use a compliant child restraint or seatbelt

If your child has a disability or medical condition and cannot be safely restrained under the Australian Standard - AS/NZS 1754, you may be prescribed a restraint under the AS/NZS 4370 Restraint of children with disabilities, or medical conditions, in motor vehicles.

The AS/NZS 4370 provides a safe restraint guide for children with disabilities and/or medical conditions who are required to use modified approved child car seats, imported speciality seats, postural harnesses, behavioural harnesses, or harnesses allowing children to lie across the back seat to travel safely in a vehicle.

To use a restraint approved under AS/NZS 4370, you will need to obtain a prescriber’s certificate. A prescriber’s certificate may be issued by a medical practitioner (general practitioner or specialist), occupational therapist, psychologist, physiotherapist or biomedical engineer. A prescriber’s certificate may be issued for up to 7 years. A 12 month review will be required.

The prescriber should provide the following details on the certificate:

  • child’s, parent’s and prescriber’s details
  • child’s diagnosed condition
  • type of restraint prescribed
    • If a compliant and special purpose child restraint is prescribed; the commercial name of the restraint and the period of time the restraint is prescribed for (no more than 12 months without review)
    • If a modified child restraint (modification of a compliant or special purpose child restraint) is prescribed; the reasons why the modification is recommended, a detailed description of the modification – including the commercial name of any accessories (if applicable), whether the modification is reversible and the period of time the modification is recommended for use (no more than 12 months without review)
    • If a customised restraint or other option is prescribed; the reasons why a customised restraint or other option is recommended, a detailed description of the customised restraint, the commercial name of any accessories (if applicable) and the period of time the customised restraint is recommended for use (no more than 12 months without review).
  • Any additional information for installing, using and maintaining the restraint. This may include in the restraint manufacturer’s instructions or a referral to an installer.
  • Information may also include details on ancillary equipment that may be required and/or information on how it should be stored and secured. Where possible, it is recommended ancillary medical equipment be stored in accordance with AS/NZS 4535.

Once you have the prescriber’s certificate, you may have the restraint fitted in your vehicle and transport your child as instructed. You must carry the prescriber’s certificate in the vehicle with the child and be able to present it to a police officer on request. An example of a prescriber’s certificate may be found under appendix B in the AS/NZS 4370.

If you have any concerns with fitting the restraint or finding a suitable restraint installer Kidsafe Queensland offers child restraint installation services for children with medical conditions or disabilities. You may wish to contact them for a quote.

The rules for restraining a child in compliance with AS/NZS 4370 are specific to Queensland. If you are using this method to restrain your child in a vehicle and intend to travel interstate, you should enquire with the interstate jurisdiction(s) as to the legal requirements to restrain your child when driving in their state or territory.

Information for Prescribers - medical practitioner (general practitioner or specialist), occupational therapist, psychologist, physiotherapist or biomedical engineer

Under the AS/NZS 4370 Restraint of children with disabilities, or medical conditions, in motor vehicles, a prescriber may assess the need and recommend the most suitable option for restraining a child with one or more disabilities or a medical condition while travelling in a motor vehicle.

As a prescriber, you will be required to complete a prescriber’s certificate which will be used by the parent to fit the restraint in their vehicle and transport their child.

You may purchase a copy of the AS/NZS 4370 Restraint of children with disabilities, or medical condition, in motor vehicles by contacting SAI Global InfoStore, by phone on 131 242, by email: sales@saiglobal.com.au or by their website.

Definitions

  • A compliant child restraint complies with AS/NZS 1754.
  • A modified child restraint includes accessories, postural supports, and/or additional padding that are not provided with the child restraint, and are not included in the child restraint manufacturer’s instructions for use.
  • A customised restraint is a restraint system designed or custom made for the individual child’s needs that does not comply with any Standard(s).
  • A special purpose child restraint is specifically designed and designated as suitable for use by a child with a disability or medical condition that complies with one or more of the following Standards; the AS/NZS 1754, Canadian Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 213, US Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 213, Economic Commission for Europe Regulation 44.
  • Ancillary equipment may include medical equipment required for the individual child’s needs while travelling in a motor vehicle. For example, a ventilator, portable oxygen or suctioning equipment. Or it may be mobility/daily living equipment required for the individual child’s needs on a daily basis. For example, wheelchair or a walking frame.
  • A compliant accessory is a product or component intended for use with or without a child restraint that complies with AS/NZS 8005. A compliant accessory may be recommended or prescribed for safety, postural support, comfort, entertainment, storage, or for installing a child restraint in a motor vehicle.
  • A non-compliant accessory is a product or component intended for use with or without a child restraint that does not comply with AS/NZS 8005. A non-compliant accessory may be recommended or prescribed for safety, postural support, comfort, entertainment, storage, or for installing a child restraint in a motor vehicle.
  • A postural support is a product, component or accessory recommended or prescribed for use, with or without a restraint. A postural support may provide the child’s body with support to improve function, safety, control and/or postural alignment. Examples of postural supports includes harnesses, pelvic belts, foot cups or thoracic supports.

Exemption to allow a child under 7 years to travel in the front seat of a vehicle

If a child is under 7 years and has a disability or medical condition that prevents them from safely travelling in a rear or middle row of seats in your vehicle, a parent or guardian may obtain an exemption from complying with the road rules by getting a certificate from a health professional to verify this. A health professional may be a medical doctor (general practitioner or specialist), occupational therapist or physiotherapist. The certificate must have an issue and expiry date and state how the child should travel or be restrained in the vehicle. When transporting the child, the driver of the vehicle must carry the certificate and be able to present it to a police officer on request.

The necessity to require a child under 4 years to travel in the front seat of a vehicle that has 2 or more rows of seats is a very rare occurrence. Therefore, the health professional’s certificate should not be issued until the specific circumstances applying to the child have been considered and all other reasonable alternatives have also been considered.

Last updated
5 January 2017
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