Street Smart

Safety in Cars

Choosing and using the safest restraint for your child

  • choosing the safest restraint for your child
  • the latest developments in the Australian standard for child restraints
  • restraints for children with additional needs.

It is the law that all children under 16 years of age, when travelling in a motor vehicle in Victoria, must be restrained in a suitable restraint that is properly adjusted and fastened.

The type of restraint will depend on the child’s size.

Child restraints and booster seats used in Victoria must comply with the Australian/New Zealand Standard 1754 for child restraints.

Visit Vicroads for the latest list of child restraint products available.

Children aged under 6 months

A child aged under 6 months must travel in a rearward facing child restraint.

All rearward facing child restraints must be held in place by the seat- belt and the top tether strap, and must have an inbuilt harness.

Some rearward facing child restraints can be turned around and used as a forward facing child restraint when the child is around 6 to 12 months of age. This type of restraint is often called a convertible restraint.

Children aged 6 months to under 4 years

A child aged 6 months to under 4 years must travel in either a rearward facing or forward facing child restraint. The type of restraint will depend on the child’s size.

All rearward and forward facing child restraints must be held in place by the seatbelt and the top tether strap, and must have an inbuilt harness.

Some rearward facing child restraints can be turned around and used as a forward facing child restraint when the child is around 6 to 12 months of age. Only move your child to a forward facing child restraint when they have outgrown their rearward facing child restraint.

Children aged 4 years to under 7 years

A child aged 4 years to under 7 years must travel in either a for- ward facing child restraint with an inbuilt harness, or a booster seat. The type of restraint will depend on the child’s size.

All forward facing child restraints must be held in place by the seatbelt and the top tether strap, and must have an inbuilt harness.

Some forward facing child restraints can be used as a booster seat by removing the inbuilt harness. This type of restraint is often called a combination restraint.

Only move your child to a booster seat when they have out- grown their forward facing child restraint.

A booster seat can be used with a lap-sash seatbelt or child safety harness. Refer to the restraint manufacturer’s instructions

Booster cushions (with no seat back) are not recommended as they provide no protection in a side impact crash.

Adult seatbelts

Children aged 7 years to under 16 years must travel in either a booster seat, or an adult seatbelt.

A child should continue using a booster seat until they have outgrown it.

An adult lap-sash seatbelt is designed for people with a minimum height of 145 cm.
The average child will reach this height between 10 and 12 years of age.

Lap-sash seatbelts offer better protection to passengers than lap-only seatbelts, but they must fit correctly. This means the lap part of the seatbelt is positioned low over the hip and the sash part of the seatbelt sits in the middle of the shoulder and does not touch the neck.

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