UPDATE SEPTEMBER 2014 During September 2014 the car seat rules the Australian Standard AS/NZS 1754 and the Australian Design rule ADR 34 relating to child restraints.
The basic rules relating to child restraints are:
- Newborns and Babies must be in a rear facing capsule/ carrier or in a rear-facing convertible child restraint until they are at least 6 months old.
- Children from From 6 months of age to 4 years(approx), can use either a rearward-facing or a forward-facing child restraint.
- Toddlers from 4 years to 8 years (approx), use either a forward-facing child restraint (type A/B, or Type G or Type A/B/E) or, when they (Type A/B) have outgrown that, a booster seat(Type E). From 2010 all child restraints must have height markers and as the age range is based on the 2004 standard and are only the 50th percentile so some children may reach the marker earlier or later.
Height MarkersEven though car seat law indicates that children can be forward facing from 6 months of age, the practicalities of this are that firstly children must reach the minimum height marker. If your child restraint does not have height markers please go into a baby store to check out if your child has reached the minimum height.
Secondly at 6 months of age your baby does not have enough strength in their neck / body to keep their body upright and prevent injuries.
This is why many parents are opting for child restraints that allow extended rear facing such as the INFA Kompressor. Similarly the next critical point is the change over to booster seats and it is very important that a child is not moved to booster mode pre-maturely as the sash part of the seat belt will not be in the correct position.
To overcome this issue, the G Type child restraint was introduced and allow children to be internally harnessed until they are 8 years of age. An Example of a G tyo child restraint is the Infa Evolve
Similarly the next critical point is the change over to booster seats. It is very important that a child is not moved to booster mode pre-maturely; as the sash part of the seat belt will not be in the correct position. A G type seat was introduced and allows children to be internally harnessed until they are 8 years of age. An Example of a G tyo child restraint is the Britax Maxi Guard
Top TethersAll child restraints must use a Top Tether connected to a tested Anchor point. Most cars have achor points already installed but there are some cars such as the Great Wall Cars which have not been tested and as such should NOT be used with child restraints.
Car Seat Rules – Attachment mechanisms
The AS/NZS 1754 released in September 2014 introduced the Type G seat and ISOFIX. ISOFIX is just another attachment mechanism and is not any safer than the traditional seat belt installation method.
It is still possible to use a seat belt installation on an ISOFIX child restraint; however you should not use both isofix and the seat belt.
Australian approved ISOFIX carseats
The Australian Car seat rules; do not allow child restraints from Europe and other countries as these child restraints have not passed the Australian standards. Additionally all child restraints in Australia; MUST use the top tether strap to attach to an Certified and tested anchor point in the car. More information on Understanding ISOFIX.
After market isofix low anchorages
The Australian Law and car seat rules do not allow having aftermarket ISOFIX low anchorages fitted in your vehicle.
Car Seat Rules – ISOFIX and Booster seats
The car seat rules (Australian Standard AS/NZS 1754:2013 ); with regard to isofix and booster seats; state that child restraint manufacturers to produce ISOFIX compatible rearward and forward facing child restraints to 4 years of age.
More about isofix child restraints
Rock Hard ISOFIX Installation
Not all cars have ISOFIX attachments points; and even when the car does have an ISOFIX anchor point; the depth of the seat and the angle of the backrest, will impact the installation. The car seat rules state that should a car not have Isofix attachment points, seat belt installation should be possible.
There are some cars where the installation may feel rather loose compared to what a seat belt installation will achieve. The main concern should be whether the green ISOFIX indicators on the isofix connectors are fully green. If both indicators are fully green then the isofix has been tighten according to the legal requirements.
NOTE: it is an urban myth that child restraints must be installed ROCK HARD, it is best to have an installation a little bit softer than a rock hard installation