Rearward facing child restraints
Children under 6 months of age must use an approved rearward facing child restraint and travel only in the rear row of a motor vehicle. If your vehicle does not have a rear row, this does not apply. Note: When using in a single row vehicle, such as a utility or van, a rearward facing child restraint cannot be used in the front seat where there is a passenger airbag.
A rearward facing child restraint gives support and protection to the child’s head and neck in a crash. RAA recommends keeping a child rearward facing until at least 12 months of age.
Standards Australia approves a range of restraints suitable for newborns. Some of these restraints are dedicated infant restraints that accommodate the child up to approximately 6 or 12 months of age (depending on the restraint), and others (convertible child safety seats) can be used as an infant restraint up to approximately 6, 12, or even 30 months of age (depending on the restraint) and then convert into a forward facing safety seat up to approximately 4 years of age.
RAA recommends using a Baby Safety Capsule for the first 6 months and then moving the child into a convertible child safety seat that will accommodate the child rearward until at least 12 months of age. When using a convertible child safety seat, use the seat rearward facing until the child reaches the maximum weight for this mode (older seats) or meets the shoulder height marker for the forward facing mode. Just because a child has turned 6 months of age does not mean the child is ready to travel forward facing.
Restraints made to the 2010 standard and later are no longer rated with weight. Shoulder height markers provide guidance of when to change modes and when to graduate to the next restraint. If you are not sure about what size child fits the restraint or when to convert the seat to the next mode, check the restraint manual for guidance.
Dedicated Infant Restraints
RAA recommends: Safe-n-Sound Baby Safety Capsule
Birth to approximately 6 months of age
Baby Safety Capsules can be hired from Australian Red Cross
Independent testing over a number of years has shown the Baby Safety Capsule to be the safest restraint for newborn babies.
RAA recommends using a Baby Safety Capsule for the first 6 months before moving the child into a rearward facing convertible safety seat.
As a dedicated infant restraint the Safe-n-Sound Baby Safety Capsule is simple to use and has gained outstanding performance in independent crash testing over a number of years. Its design allows the baby to lie in a more natural position as opposed to convertible safety seats and travel systems that sit more upright particularly in vehicles with heavy contouring.
In the event of a crash the bassinette drops into the base and reduces the impact on the child. The capsule features a specially designed harness that caters for the small shoulders of newborns.
It also has the convenience of allowing the baby to be removed from the vehicle in the carry basket. Its overall compact size also makes the Safe-n-Sound Baby Safety Capsule readily compatible with most vehicles.
Infa Secure Arlo Infant Carrier non ISOFIX model
Birth to approximately 6 months of age
RRP: $360.00 Member’s price: $320.00
Travel system infant carriers allow the bassinette to be removed from the base in car and click into a compatible stroller.
This model is easy to install and is compatible in vehicles even with deep contouring. The handle doubles as the stabiliser bar for vehicles with heavily contoured seat backs. As the handle is adjusted toward the seat back (the end where the baby's feet are) it takes up less room than other travel systems.
Safe-n-Sound Unity ISOFIX model
Birth to approximately 12 months of age
RRP: $479.00 Member’s price: $429.00
The Unity ISOFIX compatible infant carrier is the only infant carrier to date that has been tested and designed for low birth weight and premature infants without restrictive medical conditions. It is also the only infant carrier rated to 12 months (as opposed to 6 months for others). This dedicated infant restraint clicks from the car into a compatible pram.
Convertible Child Safety Seats
Convertible child safety seats are also rated for use from birth. Some will accommodate a child up to around 6 months of age rearward facing whilst others are rated to around 12 or 30 months of age rearward facing. Once the child has reached the maximum limit for the rearward facing mode the seat can then be turned forward facing until around 4 years of age.
All convertible seats sold by RAA are rated to at least 12 months rearward facing as research shows that best practice is to keep children rearward facing to around this age.
Purchasing and fitting a restraint
More information on convertible child safety seats can be found here.
A select range of recommended child restraints can be purchased from the RAA Safety Centre at 101 Richmond Road, Mile End.
If you're unable to get to the Safety Centre, we offer over the phone child restraint sales on 08 8202 4592, and can post your purchase to any address in South Australia and Broken Hill for a small postage cost.
RAA's fitting service is also available by appointment by calling the RAA Safety Centre on 08 8202 4592 or via email.