What if my child is too big for the recommended restraint for their age group?
It is important that a restraint is the right one for a child’s size. Therefore, the road rules allow a child who is too heavy or tall to use the restraint recommended for the next age category (e.g. if a 3 and a half year old is too heavy or tall for a forward facing restraint, they are able to move up and use a booster seat).
If your child has exceeded the maximum size limit of their restraint before the recommended age, you should check that there are no other restraints on the market that they can fit in before progressing them to the next stage.
Do I have to use a child safety harness with a booster seat?
No – booster seats are designed to be used with an adult lap sash seatbelt.
A child safety harness (also commonly called a H harness) is only required if you need to use a booster seat in a lap only seatbelt position, like the middle seat in the back row of some vehicles. Apart from this, child safety harnesses are not widely recommended as they are difficult to use and are commonly misused. Incorrect use of a child safety harness can cause the seatbelt to be positioned across a child's stomach area, which may cause serious injury or death to a child in a crash.
What age can my child travel in the front seat?
The Victorian road rules allow children aged 7 years and over to travel in the front seat. However, research shows that the injury risk to children aged 12 and under is nearly double in the front seat compared to the back seat.
Kidsafe recommends that all children aged 12 years and younger sit in the back row of seats where possible.
Is it possible to fit three restraints in the back seat of my vehicle?
Just like there is a difference between makes and models of vehicles, there is a difference in the types of child restraints and booster seats available on the market.
The NRMA’s Child Restraint Fitting Guide provides some useful information on fitting three restraints in the back of a vehicle. You can also visit a child restraint fitting station for advice and assistance.
If I can’t fit three restraints in the back seat of my vehicle, can I put one in the front?
Yes. If there are two restraints in the back seat and there is not enough space to put a third restraint, a passenger aged 4 years to under 7 years can travel in a booster seat in the front seat. You will need to use a booster seat that is manufactured without a top tether strap and therefore does not need to be anchored to the vehicle.
What are the laws for child restraints in taxis in Victoria
The Victorian child restraint road rules do not require taxi drivers to provide child restraints or booster seats for customers. However, the road rules do require taxi drivers to ensure there is at least one anchor fitting ready for passengers who wish to supply their own restraint.
The Victorian child restraint road rules require that in taxis:
- Children aged under 1 year do not have to use a child restraint, but they must travel in the back seat.
- Children aged 1 year and over must be seated in their own seating position in a taxi, with their own properly fastened seatbelt if no suitable child restraint or booster seat is available in the taxi.
Kidsafe recommends taking your child’s restraint with you when travelling in a taxi if possible.
Rideshare services are not currently exempt from complying with the Victorian child restraint road rules.
Can I use a restraint bought overseas in Australia?
No. All restraints used in Australia must comply with the Australian Standard (AS 1754). Child restraints purchased overseas (including overseas ISOFIX child restraints) do not meet this standard.
For more information on choosing a child restraint, please visit: http://www.kidsafevic.com.au/road-safety/child-restraints/choosing-a-child-restraint
Do children need to be seated in child restraints on buses?
If the vehicle has 12 or fewer seats (including the driver’s seat) then any children under 7 years of age must use an appropriate child restraint or booster seat. If a bus has more than 12 seating positions (including the driver’s seat), children are not required to use child restraints or booster seats.
It is recommended that children are placed in a child restraint that is appropriate for their size wherever possible. If a child restraint is not available, children over 1 year of age should use a lap-sash seat belt. For more information on child restraints in buses please visit the National Child Restraint Guidelines or the Vic Roads website.
My child has additional needs, how do I find a modified child restraint?
If a regular child restraint is not suitable for your child due to their special needs, your first step is to talk to your child's occupational therapist (OT) about how modifications can be made to the child restraint to improve comfort and safety. For more information, or to search for an OT in your area, please visit the TOCAN website.
ISOFIX compatible child restraints
For a comprehensive list of FAQ’s about ISOFIX compatible child restraints, please visit the Child Restraint Evaluation Program website.