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 as well.
Babies up to 6 months old
Babies up to 6 months of age must be in an approved rear-facing restraint that is properly fastened and adjusted. We recommend babies stay in a rear-facing restraint for as long as their size allows.
Babies and children—6 months to 4 years
Babies and children from 6 months to 4 years must be in an approved child restraint that is properly fastened and adjusted. The child restraint may be rear-facing or forward-facing with a built-in harness. We recommend babies and children stay in a rear-facing restraint for as long as their size allows.
Children—4 to 7 years
Children aged 4 years and up to 7 years must be in an approved child restraint that is either:
- forward-facing with a built-in harness that is properly fastened and adjusted
- an approved booster seat secured with an adult lap-sash seatbelt.
We recommend that children remain in a forward-facing restraint with built-in harness for as long as their size allows before progressing to a booster seat.
Children 7 years and over
Children who are 7 years and over may sit in a standard seat with an adult seatbelt, or an approved booster seat secured with an adult lap-sash seatbelt. They may also remain in an approved child restraint that is forward-facing with a built-in harness that is properly fastened and adjusted.
It is recommended that they stay in their child restraint for as long as their size allows and not move to an adult seat until they meet all parts of the 5-step test.
The 5-step test
Before progressing from booster seat to normal car seat, ensure the child passes all of the questions in the 5-step test:
- Back: can the child sit with all of their back against the vehicle seat back?
- Knee: do the child's knees bend comfortably over the front edge of the vehicle seat?
- Lap belt: Is the lap belt sitting low across the hip bones, touching the thighs?
- Sash belt: does the sash (shoulder) belt sit across the middle of the shoulder, not on the neck or out near the arm?
- Stay: can the child stay seated in this position for the whole trip?
In this guide:
- Types of child restraints
- When to move to the next type of restraint
- Installing a child restraint
- Where children should sit
- Exemptions from complying with standard child restraint laws