28 August 2020 ·

Child Restraint & Car Seat Laws

Child Restraint & Car Seat Laws

The Law

In Queensland, when driving with children up to 7 years of age, you must ensure they are restrained in a properly fastened and adjusted Australian Standard (AS) approved child restraint. Driving includes when the vehicle is moving or stationary (for example, when stopped at traffic lights), but not when parked. Only child restraints that carry the AS sticker have been tested and approved as meeting standard AS/NZS 1754.

Child restraints purchased overseas may only be used in Queensland if they comply with AS/NZS 1754.

We recommend you use a child restraint that is less than 10 years old. The restraint will have a sticker showing approval and 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, get a copy of the manufacturer's instructions, so you understand how to use it safely.

Penalties

In addition to the safety risks, if a child is not in an approved child restraint that is properly fastened and adjusted, you can be fined $400 and incur 3 demerit points for each child that is not properly restrained. Double demerit points will apply for a second or subsequent child restraint or seatbelt offences committed within 1 year after an earlier offence.

Types of child retraints

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.

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

Babies and children—6 months to 4 years

Babies and children from 6 months and up to 4 years must be in an approved child restraint that is properly adjusted and fastened. The child restraint may be rear-facing or forward-facing with a built-in harness. However, 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 may be in an approved child restraint that is forward-facing with a built-in harness that is properly adjusted and fastened. They may also be in an approved booster seat secured with an adult lap-sash seatbelt or a fastened and adjusted H-Harness. However, research has indicated that the booster seat with a H-Harness option provides a lower level of safety in some types of crashes.

Booster cushions

A booster cushion is a booster seat without the back and side wings. A child aged 4 years and up to 7 years may use an Australian standard approved booster cushion, secured with an adult lap-sash seatbelt or a fastened and adjusted H-Harness.

Booster cushions are legal to use providing they complied with the Australian standard AS/NZS 1754 at the time of manufacture. The booster cushion should have a sticker showing approval and a date stamp for when it was manufactured. We recommend child booster cushions be less than 10 years old.

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/cushion secured with an adult lap-sash seatbelt or an H-Harness. Or, they may be in an approved child restraint that is forward-facing with a built-in harness that is properly adjusted and fastened.

Types of child retraints

Installing a child restraint

A properly fitted booster seat or child restraint can help minimise the risk of injury during an accident. However, it’s not always so straight-forward to get things in order. Always read and follow the manufacturer's instructions when installing a child restraint. Check your vehicle owner's manual to find where the anchor points are located in your car.

RACQ or Kidsafe Queensland offer child restraint installation services. Contact them for a quote.

Finding the anchor points in my car

Check your vehicle owner's manual to find where the anchor points are located. If you don't have the owner's manual, check your vehicle manufacturer's website or contact your vehicle manufacturer for help.

It is important not to confuse luggage fixing points with child restraint anchor points.

To find a business in your local area qualified to install anchor points in your vehicle (code LK6) please contact the Department of Transport and Main Roads modifications help desk on 13 23 80.

When can children travel in the front seat?

Children aged 7 years and over can travel in the front seat. However, research shows that children under 12 years are much safer travelling in the back seat.

Children under the age of seven must not sit in the front seat of any vehicle, including a taxi, that has two or more rows of seats unless all the other seats in the row or rows behind the front seat are occupied by children who are also under the age of seven. 

This applies even when the front seat is the only position fitted with a seat belt. 

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 4 and up to 7 years can only sit in the front seat if all other seats are occupied by children under 7 years of age
Children 7 years and over 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 a passenger airbag, a rear-facing child restraint shouldn't be used in the front seat if the restraint is positioned close to the airbag.

Child Restraints in taxis and buses

In Queensland, you are not required to provide a child restraint for use in a taxi or booked hire vehicle but it is good practice to do so. 

  • Taxis and booked hire vehicles are required to provide a child restraint anchor point but not the restraint. 
  • Children under the age of 12 months can be seated on the lap of a person 16 years or older but must not share the seatbelt. 
  • Where no restraint is available we strongly recommend that all children travelling in taxis or booked hire vehicles be restrained, at least by an adult seat belt. 
  • Buses with 13 or more seats are not required to be fitted with seat belts and child restraint anchors.  However, where seat belts are provided they will offer some protection and should be used.

Using a second-hand restraint

There is no legislation to prevent the use of a second-hand restraint. However, we do not recommend the use of second-hand restraints as their history is unknown and it can be difficult to judge their condition.

Visit https://www.childcarseats.com.au for more useful information on choosing the right car seat for your child.

Child Car Seats is an initiative of the Child Restraint Evaluation Program (CREP), a consortium of government agencies and motorist organisations who share a common interest in improving safety for children travelling in vehicles. CREP aims to provide consumers with information to help choose and use safe child car seats and to apply commercial and public consumer pressure on car seat manufacturers to only market seats that perform well beyond the requirements of the Australian Standard.

Choosing a Mazda Designed for Child Safety

At Mount Gravatt Mazda, we understand the importance of child safety. When looking for your next family car, we can help you choose a model that accommodates all passengers of all ages.

Every new Mazda vehicle sold in Australia is subject to the stringent Australian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP). Mazda holds a 5-star ANCAP safety rating across every one of the nine vehicles in the range.

As you can now see, while airbags, clever braking and crash tests are still great ideas, there is a lot more to car safety than meets the eye. Visit us for the lowdown on all the safety technology contained in the particular model of vehicle you’re after.

For a fresh look at the safety technologies on offer, take a closer look at the Mazda range now and enjoy safer, more reassuring motoring for years to come.

Choosing a Mazda Designed for Child Safety