Road Safety

Child Car Restraint Guidelines

In Western Australia, the leading cause of death and the third most frequent cause of hospitalisation for children aged 0-14 years is transport related injury. Motor vehicle accidents are one of the most common causes of transport related injury for children. Children as passengers in a vehicle should be seated in the most appropriate child car restraint for their age and size. To provide the best protection for your child in a motor vehicle follow these simple steps:

  • Buckle up every child on every trip. 
  • Ensure you use a correctly fitted child car restraint most appropriate for your child’s age and size.
  • All child car restraints must meet the Australian Standards AS/NZS 1754.
  • Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions when using your child car restraint.
  • If you are using a second hand child car restraint, ensure you know the history of the restraint and that it is less than 10 years of age and has not been involved in a car accident.
  • Child car restraints must be installed in the second row of seats in a vehicle. For further information please contact Kidsafe WA.
  • Ensure your child has exceeded the maximum size limits of the restraint before progressing them to the next stage.

Which restraint do I use for my child?

Children Under 6 Months of Age

Must use an approved child restraint that is:

  • rearward facing
  • properly fitted to the vehicle
  • adjusted to fit the child’s body correctly
  • Must not travel in the front seat of a vehicle that has a back row/s of seats.

Best Practice Recommendations

Keep your baby in a rearward-facing child car restraint until they have reached the maximum size limits and can sit by themselves on the floor with no support.

Children 6 Months to 4 Years of Age

Must use EITHER an approved:

  • rearward facing child restraint, OR
  • a forward facing child restraint with an inbuilt harness
  • properly fitted to the vehicle
  • adjusted to fit the child’s body correctly
  • must not travel in the front seat of a vehicle that has a back row/s of seats.

Best Practice Recommendations

Keep your child in a forward facing child restraint with an inbuilt harness until the child reaches the maximum size limit of the restraint before progressing to the next stage.

Children 4 to 7 Years of Age

Must use EITHER an approved:

  • forward facing child restraint with an inbuilt harness, OR
  • booster seat with a properly fastened and adjusted seatbelt or child harness
  • must not travel in the front seat of a vehicle that has a back row/s of seats unless all the other back seats are occupied by children who are also under 7 years of age.

Best Practice Recommendations

Keep your child in a child car restraint until they reach the maximum size limit of the restraint.

Children Over 7 Years of Age

Must use EITHER an approved:

  • a forward facing child car restraint with an inbuilt harness OR
  • a dedicated booster seat using the vehicles’ lap sash seat belt.

Best Practice Recommendations

Check to see if they can safely use an adult seatbelt or if a booster seat is still needed, even if they have turned 7 years of age.

If your child has outgrown the child car restraint with the inbuilt harness or the dedicated booster seat please carry out the ‘five step test’ to ensure your child is ready to comfortably sit with an adult seatbelt. 

Although a child aged over 7 can legally ride in the front passenger seat of a vehicle with two or more rows of seats, it is recommended that children under 13 years of age always use the rear seats first.

If you would like to speak to someone about child car restraints please contact Kidsafe WA on 08 6244 4880.

Kidsafe WA has a range of child car restraints available for purchase at our centre and through our online shop. To view our range please click here.