Here is our baby car seat faq where we try to answer the questions you as a parent may have but kept getting confusing answers.
We have listed the individual state government pages where you can read more in depth information about baby car seats and the law.
If you find any errors please do not hesitate to contact us, so that we can correct the information for other parents.
Please Refer to our Service Area Page
Please refer to our Mobile Baby Car Seat Fitting Cost Page
The Australian/New Zealand Standard for child restraints (AS/NZS 1754) has been amended to allow child restraint manufacturers to include (ISOFIX compatible) lower attachment connectors to rearward and forward facing child restraints.
The lower attachment connectors on the Baby Car Seat can either be a pair of rigid or flexible connectors. The lower attachment connectors are incorporated into the baby carr seat design at the time of manufacture and connect to the vehicle’s ISOFIX low anchorages. Note: Not all vehicles are fitted with ISOFIX anchorages.
For More information on ISOFIX please consult our article “Understanding ISOFIX“
Since the approval of the AS1754:2010 Shoulder height markers have been added to all child restraints.
The shoulder height markers make it easier for parents and carers to determine if a baby car seat is suitable for their child and when the child needs to move to the next type of restraint.
On some restraints it will determine when the restraint needs to be changed to the next mode, such as moving from Rear facing to forward facing.
Convertible Caar Seat Height markers
Untethered shoulder height markers
Convertible booster seat height markers
A4 Car seat height Markers
Booster Seat Height Markers
Many Parents prefer to use a baby capsule / carrier for the first six months. The benefits of a baby capsule is that you do not disturb the sleep of your baby when transitioning from the car to the pram. Bubs can sleep un-disturbed in this transition.
Another GREAT advantage of a baby capsule installation is that all you need is a second base installed in your parents car and it is so much easier on the grand-parents; if they need to pick up your child from child-care in an emergency. The cost of hiring a second base for the baby capsule is approximately another $40-60 for a couple of months. In Comparison to several hundreds of dollars for a convertible car seat.
The Baby capsule fitting should ideally be on the passenger side of he vehicle, mainly due to the narrow centre position and the split in the back seat making it unsafe to install a capsule in the middle when the upper tether may fall between the split
Many Parents believe that the car seat installation needs to be ROCK HARD. Some Professional Car seat Fitters even proclaim No-one can get a firmer car seat install than me.
FACT : A car seat installation does NOT need to be Rock HARD. Infact Making a car seat installation ROCK HARD is actually compromising the installation of the car seat and the safety of your child. The reason behind this conclusion is that when the seat belt is ROCK hard then the seat belt can NO longer absorb any energy from an emergency stop. A Good car seat installer will explain to the customer that it should not be rock hard and that they are installing the car seat
In Victoria Consult the Vic-roads website
In NSW consult Transport for NSW website
In Tasmania Consult Transport for Tasmania
In Queensland consult Transport and Man Roads Website
In South Australia Consult RAA website
In Western Australia Consult RSC Website
other resources Department Infrastructure
Approved child restraints comply with Australian Standard AS/NZS 1754 and must be correctly anchored to the vehicle using an Australian Standard’s approved anchorage system.
All child restraints sold in Australia must meet the strict requirements of the AS/NZS 1754 covering the materials, design, construction, performance, testing and labelling of child restraints. A person must not sell, for use in a motor vehicle a child restraint or part that is not approved by Australian Standard 1754.
Restraints bought in other countries will not meet the Australian Standard. It is illegal to use them in Australia.
Restraints approved to an earlier Australian Standard, E46, may also be used but they are not recommended as they are very old and may have deteriorated to the point where they are no longer safe.
Although there is no law prohibiting the use of restraints older than 10 years, it is strongly recommended by the manufacturers not to do so for the following reasons:
It’s not possible to guarantee a restraint that’s older than 10 years will perform as it was originally intended to do so.
The Australian Standards have been improved significantly in past years with updates occurring in 2000, 2004, 2010 and 2013. Older restraints will not meet new improved design features.
If you choose to use a restraint over 10 years and it fails in a crash, not only are you putting the child at higher risk of injury, but you may also see your insurance payout reduced for failing to follow the recommendations of the manufacturer.
Children aged 7 years to 16 years of age are required to travel in either an approved Baby Car Seat or a properly adjusted and securely fastened adult seatbelt. The type of Baby Car Seat will depend on the child’s size. The average seven year old cannot fit an adult seat-belt correctly. In fact, most children cannot wear an adult seat-belt correctly in most vehicles until they are 10 to 12 years of age.
more information from RAA here.
Seat Belt Extenders have not been tested with the child restraints and it is not recommended to use a seat belt extender as it is another possible point of failure.
A better solution is to use a type G child restraint (such as the Britax Maxi Guard or Infa Evolve Origin) which keeps your child using the harness of the child restraint until they are approximately 8 years of age.
What is extended harnessing
Extended harnessing is where the child stays in a child restraint with a 6 point harness until they have reached a torso length of 51 cm. The 6 point harness is much safer than just the normal lap-sash seat belt (this is why racing car drivers use a 5/6 point full harness when racing)
Extended harnessing was introduced as many parents were moving their children into boosters seats pre-maturely, ie the children may have reached the age of 4 but were not sufficiently tall enough to cope with a booster seat, as the sash part of the seat belt was not going across the middle of the shoulder and was too close to the nect of the child.
Examples of Extended harnessing seats
When looking at extended harnessing seats a number of criteria need to be fulfilled.
1/ is the harness a hassle free harness(ie you do not need to manually rethread the harness)
2/ can the harness be adjusted with one hand easily
3/ Does the harness have a good recline angle to help children sleep without head flop.
Child restraints which meet this criteria include
- maxi guard
- maxi guard pro (note pro version cost approx $120 more with thermo fabric)
- Infa Grandeur (also a A4 rear facing chiild restraint)
- Infa Evolve
it this fitters opinion that the maxi cosi luna does not meet these criteria and is also not as good value as the other child restraints mentioned above.
Boosters Vs Extended harnessing
Yes extended harnessing seats are safer than booster seats, a booster requires the child to be the correct age and the correct height. An extended harnessing seats can be used immediately when the child is forward facing and you do not need t wait until they are 4 years of age. A extended harnessing seat also has the advantage of a 6 point harness to keep your child safe
In any vehicle with two or more rows of seats, the following restrictions must be adhered to, by law:
Children under the age of 4 must be seated in the rear of the vehicle (where the vehicle has two or more rows of seats).
Children from the age of 4 to 7 years are permitted to sit in the front of the vehicle, but only if all rear seats are already occupied by children up to the same age (where the vehicle has two or more rows of seats).
Note: If you have a small car and it is impossible to fit a third restraint in between two others, then a child between 4 and 7 years can move into the front row providing they are correctly restrained in an age appropriate restraint.
In a vehicle with only one row of seats, it is allowable for children to travel in this row providing they are correctly restrained in a size appropriate, approved child restraint. The restraint must be fitted to the manufacturer’s instructions; including attaching the upper tether to an anchorage point (excludes restraints such as foam boosters that do not feature an upper tether).
Commercial vehicles with only one row of seats, such as vans (eg hiasce) and utilities (ford ranger), are not required to have anchorage points. It may be possible to have one fitted. If your vehicle is not fitted with anchor points, contact RAA/ ACRI to find the location of your nearest anchorage installer.
Rearward facing restraints must not be used in a position fitted with an airbag. Child seat manufacturers warn against using restraints in positions fitted with airbags and most vehicle manufacturers warn against placing children under the age of 12 in these positions. As airbags are designed for the safety of adults, these warnings should be followed.