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Choose the right restraint to suit your child’s age/weight range

To provide the best protection for your child, it’s important to choose the right restraint to suit their size. A child should only be moved to the next type of restraint once they’ve outgrown the current type of restraint and you should always follow the manufacturer’s instructions when installing and using a restraint. 

If you’re not sure a child is the right size for a restraint or don’t know when to convert the seat to the next mode, you can book a fitting with RAA’s experts (free for members).

What the law says

  • Birth to 6 months

    Rearward-facing child restraints

    What the law says
    • Infants up to 6-months-old must use an approved rearward-facing child restraint and must not travel in the front seat of a vehicle that has two or more rows of seats.
    • If you have a single-row vehicle – such as a ute or van – a rearward-facing child restraint can be used in the front seat, as long as there are no airbags in that position and an anchorage point is available. Using a rearward-facing restraint in a front seat where there’s an airbag is extremely dangerous and it’s illegal.
    • The restraint must be:
      • used and fitted in accordance with manufacturer’s specifications
      • securely attached to an anchorage point and seatbelt as specified
      • maintained in sound condition and working order

    All child restraints must comply with the Australian Standard (AS/NZS1754) in order to gain approved status. Every compliant child restraint will feature a Standards Approved Certification sticker.

    For more information, download our 'Right child, right restraint, right time' and 'Shoulder height markers' fact sheets.

    More on Australian Standards

  • 6 months to 4 years

    Rearward or forward-facing child restraints

    What the law says
    • Children aged between 6 months and 4-years-old must use either an approved rearward-facing restraint or forward-facing child safety seat with an inbuilt harness, and mustn't travel in the front seat of a vehicle that has two or more rows of seats.
    • If you have a single-row vehicle – such as a ute or van – a child restraint can legally be used in the front seat, as long as there’s an anchorage point available. In vehicles with airbags in the front seat, always follow the vehicle manufacturer's instructions. Most vehicle manufacturers warn against placing children under the age of 12 in a position fitted with an airbag, and these warnings should be adhered to.
    • The restraint must be:
      • used and fitted in accordance with manufacturer’s specifications
      • securely attached to an anchorage point and seatbelt as specified
      • maintained in sound condition and working order

    All child restraints must comply with the Australian Standard (AS/NZS1754) in order to gain approved status. Every compliant child restraint will feature a Standards Approved Certification sticker.

    For more information, download our 'Rearward vs forward facing' and 'Shoulder height markers' fact sheets.

    More on Australian Standards

  • 4 to 7 years

    Forward-facing child restraints or booster seats

    What the law says
    • From 4 to 7-years-old, children must use either an approved child safety seat with inbuilt harness or a booster seat with a seatbelt. If a booster seat is used in a position that only has a lap  seatbelt, then an approved child safety harness must be used. It’s important to check your booster seat is compatible with a harness.
    • They must not travel in the front seat of a vehicle that has two or more rows of seats, unless all the other seats are occupied by children who are under 7 years old, or if it’s impossible to fit a third restraint.
    • In vehicles with airbags in the front seat, always follow the vehicle manufacturer's instructions. Most vehicle manufacturers will warn against placing children under the age of 12 in a position fitted with an airbag, and these warnings should be adhered to.
    • The restraint must be:
      • used and fitted in accordance with manufacturer’s specifications
      • securely attached to an anchorage point and seatbelt as specified
      • maintained in sound condition and working order

    All child restraints must comply with the Australian Standard (AS/NZS1754) in order to gain approved status. Every compliant child restraint will feature a Standards Approved Certification sticker.

    For more information, download our 'Harness or not to harness' and 'Shoulder height markers' fact sheets.

    More on Australian Standards

  • 7 years and over

    Booster seat or adult seatbelt

    What the law says
    • Children 7 years and over are required to be restrained in an approved child restraint (for example, extended harnessed seat or booster seat) or a properly fitted and adjusted seatbelt.
    • Note: A properly adjusted seatbelt is where the sash part sits on the shoulder and the lap part sits low across the hips or upper thighs.
    • In vehicles with airbags in the front seat, always follow the vehicle manufacturer's instructions. Most vehicle manufacturers will warn against placing children under the age of 12 in a position fitted with an airbag, and these warnings should be adhered to.
    • The restraint must be:
      • used and fitted in accordance with manufacturer’s specifications
      • securely attached to an anchorage point and seatbelt as specified
      • maintained in sound condition and working order.

    All child restraints must comply with the Australian Standard (AS/NZS1754) in order to gain approved status. Every compliant child restraint will feature a Standards Approved Certification sticker.

    For more information, download our 'What happens after 7 years of age' and 'Shoulder height markers' fact sheets.

    More on Australian Standards

Rearward-facing child restraints

What the law says
  • Infants up to 6-months-old must use an approved rearward-facing child restraint and must not travel in the front seat of a vehicle that has two or more rows of seats.
  • If you have a single-row vehicle – such as a ute or van – a rearward-facing child restraint can be used in the front seat, as long as there are no airbags in that position and an anchorage point is available. Using a rearward-facing restraint in a front seat where there’s an airbag is extremely dangerous and it’s illegal.
  • The restraint must be:
    • used and fitted in accordance with manufacturer’s specifications
    • securely attached to an anchorage point and seatbelt as specified
    • maintained in sound condition and working order

All child restraints must comply with the Australian Standard (AS/NZS1754) in order to gain approved status. Every compliant child restraint will feature a Standards Approved Certification sticker.

For more information, download our 'Right child, right restraint, right time' and 'Shoulder height markers' fact sheets.

More on Australian Standards

Rearward or forward-facing child restraints

What the law says
  • Children aged between 6 months and 4-years-old must use either an approved rearward-facing restraint or forward-facing child safety seat with an inbuilt harness, and mustn't travel in the front seat of a vehicle that has two or more rows of seats.
  • If you have a single-row vehicle – such as a ute or van – a child restraint can legally be used in the front seat, as long as there’s an anchorage point available. In vehicles with airbags in the front seat, always follow the vehicle manufacturer's instructions. Most vehicle manufacturers warn against placing children under the age of 12 in a position fitted with an airbag, and these warnings should be adhered to.
  • The restraint must be:
    • used and fitted in accordance with manufacturer’s specifications
    • securely attached to an anchorage point and seatbelt as specified
    • maintained in sound condition and working order

All child restraints must comply with the Australian Standard (AS/NZS1754) in order to gain approved status. Every compliant child restraint will feature a Standards Approved Certification sticker.

For more information, download our 'Rearward vs forward facing' and 'Shoulder height markers' fact sheets.

More on Australian Standards

Forward-facing child restraints or booster seats

What the law says
  • From 4 to 7-years-old, children must use either an approved child safety seat with inbuilt harness or a booster seat with a seatbelt. If a booster seat is used in a position that only has a lap  seatbelt, then an approved child safety harness must be used. It’s important to check your booster seat is compatible with a harness.
  • They must not travel in the front seat of a vehicle that has two or more rows of seats, unless all the other seats are occupied by children who are under 7 years old, or if it’s impossible to fit a third restraint.
  • In vehicles with airbags in the front seat, always follow the vehicle manufacturer's instructions. Most vehicle manufacturers will warn against placing children under the age of 12 in a position fitted with an airbag, and these warnings should be adhered to.
  • The restraint must be:
    • used and fitted in accordance with manufacturer’s specifications
    • securely attached to an anchorage point and seatbelt as specified
    • maintained in sound condition and working order

All child restraints must comply with the Australian Standard (AS/NZS1754) in order to gain approved status. Every compliant child restraint will feature a Standards Approved Certification sticker.

For more information, download our 'Harness or not to harness' and 'Shoulder height markers' fact sheets.

More on Australian Standards

Booster seat or adult seatbelt

What the law says
  • Children 7 years and over are required to be restrained in an approved child restraint (for example, extended harnessed seat or booster seat) or a properly fitted and adjusted seatbelt.
  • Note: A properly adjusted seatbelt is where the sash part sits on the shoulder and the lap part sits low across the hips or upper thighs.
  • In vehicles with airbags in the front seat, always follow the vehicle manufacturer's instructions. Most vehicle manufacturers will warn against placing children under the age of 12 in a position fitted with an airbag, and these warnings should be adhered to.
  • The restraint must be:
    • used and fitted in accordance with manufacturer’s specifications
    • securely attached to an anchorage point and seatbelt as specified
    • maintained in sound condition and working order.

All child restraints must comply with the Australian Standard (AS/NZS1754) in order to gain approved status. Every compliant child restraint will feature a Standards Approved Certification sticker.

For more information, download our 'What happens after 7 years of age' and 'Shoulder height markers' fact sheets.

More on Australian Standards

Our experts are here to help

Expert advice

Our team of experts are here to offer you independent advice on everything, from legal requirements to when your child is ready for an adult seatbelt.

Recommended child restraints

To provide the best protection for your child, it’s important to choose the right restraint to suit their size.

Members benefit from discounts on child restraints and accessories.

Book a child restraint fitting

A correctly fitted restraint is critical in keeping your child safe when travelling in your vehicle. That’s why RAA offers free child restraint fittings and checks for members.

Non-members can have a seat fitted for $30 or checked for $15.

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