National Child Restraint Best Practice Guidelines

2021 National Guidelines
The National Guidelines for the Safe Restraint of Children Travelling in Motor Vehicles have been developed under the auspices of Neuroscience Research Australia (NeuRA) and Kidsafe – The Child Accident Prevention Foundation of Australia. They provide best practice recommendations for how to safely transport children in motor vehicles. The 2021 edition of the guidelines are a major update from the previous guidelines published in 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.

Key Changes include the following recommendations:

  • Children should use their child restraint or booster seat when travelling in rideshare (e.g. Uber) and rental cars, as well as taxis
  • Strengthened guidance on using the ‘5 step test’ to decide when to transition from a booster seat to adult seat belt, and removal of height as a guide
  • When possible, children should sit in an upright seating posture so the restraint can work optimally
  • Children aged 4-8 should use an add-on booster seat in preference to an integrated booster, but children 9 and older can safely use an integrated booster seat if their car has a side curtain airbag where they are sitting
  • Parents of low birthweight babies should use an infant restraint designed for low birthweight infants until they can get good harness fit in a ‘standard’ child restraint.

The Guidelines also include information on the current legal requirements for child restraint use in Australia, and how best practice exceeds these minimum requirements.