Motor vehicles accidents are the cause of the highest number of deaths in children aged between 0 and 14 years and are the second highest cause of hospital admissions.
Whenever children are passengers in a vehicle they should be seated in the most appropriate child restraint for their age and size.
To provide the best protection for your child in a motor vehicle, here are some simple steps to follow:
- Always choose, correctly fit and use the restraint most appropriate for your child’s age and size.
- Use a restraint which has been approved to the Australian Standards.
- Place your child in an appropriate child restraint for every single journey.
- Second hand restraints should be used with caution. You should be aware of the history of the restraint and be sure that the restraint has all the appropriate fittings. Any restraint that is more than 10 years old should not be used.
- Children are safest when travelling in the rear of the vehicle.
- Do not move your child to the next restraint until they have outgrown it.
The Seat Me Safely program provides information on the selection and use of child restraints and includes:
- features of child restraints
- safety tips to consider when using child restraints, and
- information on placing restraints in your vehicle.
The numbered bullet points in each category have a corresponding illustration to highlight the information. Just ‘click’ on the text to see the illustration.
You can move freely between age categories and information pages simply by ‘clicking’ on the page you require.
Click here to access the Seat me Safely program.
Child Restraint Guidelines
The National Guidelines for the Safe Restraint of Children Travelling in Motor Vehicles have been developed by Neuroscience Research Australia (NeuRA) and Kidsafe- The Child Accident Prevention Foundation of Australia.
The National Guidelines provide best practice recommendations that have been approved by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) and were released in October 2013.
NeuRA and Kidsafe want to see all children as safe as they can be when travelling in cars. Ensuring parents receive straightforward, consistent advice from all sources on how to keep children safe in cars is an important step in making this happen.
For a full copy of the guidelines, please click on the link: The National Child Restraint Guidelines.
Choosing a Child Restraint
Each age category offers a choice between two types of child restraints, which you select depending on the size of your child.
The age categories are a guide. Only move children to the next level of restraint if they are too large for their current restraint.
- Most babies will move from rearward facing to forward facing restraints between 6 months and 12 months of age, depending on their size.
- Even though your child may have turned 7 years of age, they should remain in a child restraint until they are tall enough to use an adult seatbelt. Research has shown that premature graduation to adult seatbelts greatly increases the risk of significant injury.*
Authorised RTA Fitters
When fitting a child restraint it is important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions as a restraint which is not fitted or used correctly significantly reduces the safety protection provided by the restraint.
If you are unsure on how to fit a restraint correctly or would like your restraint checked you can contact an RTA Authorised Restraint Fitter in your area. You can call the RTA Enquiry Line on 13 22 13 or click here for a list of RTA approved fitting stations.
Guide on Safer Child Restraints
If you are looking to purchase a new child restraint please check the Child Restraint Evaluation [program (CREP) Safety Ratings information.
The Child Restraint Evaluation program (CREP) is supported by the NSW Centre for Road Safety and other motoring organisations.
Visit the CREP website for help in choosing child restraints and advice on how to use them safely. The CREP website:
- provides safety ratings for rearward- and forward-facing restraints and booster seats
- has video examples on how child restraints are tested
- includes statistical facts, Frequently Asked Questions and where families can get help.
If you require further information on any aspects of child passenger safety, please visit:
- Transport for NSW, Centre for Road Safety
- Kids and Traffic, Early Childhood Road Safety Education Program
Click here for the Kidsafe NSW Frequently Asked Questions Fact Sheet on Child Restraints.
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