Car Seat Laws

Tragically each year, many children are injured or killed in car crashes. Many of these could be prevented by the accurate use of a child restraint, which has been correctly fitted for the child’s size. 

From 11 March 2010, it will be the law for all children up to the age of seven to be correctly restrained when traveling in a car.

As a loyal customer to the Bubs website, we will strive to provide you with the most current and accurate information available to help keep your baby as safe as possible. So read on as we have compiled some helpful information and tips to assist you in finding and fitting the best possible car restraint for your child.


There are several different types of car restraints and baby car seats, and it’s important you match the right one to your child’s weight (age is only a rough indication):

A forward facing child restraint with a built-in harness can only be used on forward-facing seats. They are attached by an anchor bolt, a tether strap and the car's seat belt.

Infant Restraints: Babies under six months (usually weighing less than 12 kg) must be secured in an approved infant restraint. Infant restraints are designed to be installed facing the rear of the vehicle as this is the safest way for a bub to travel. A child should be secured in a rearward facing child restraint up until six months of age. The department recommends infants remain in a rearward facing infant restraint as long as possible. The restraints must be anchored to the vehicle at two points — at the anchor bolt/tether strap and with the seatbelt.

Child Car Seats: Once your child reaches six months they can start using a forward facing child restraint with a built in harness. However, if your child has not outgrown the infant restraint, it is recommended that they remain seated in the infant restraint until they are big enough to move into the next level of child restraint.

Booster seat: Once you child reaches their forth birthday and up until they reach seven years of age (approx. 14–26 kg) they should use a booster seat with a H-Harness or a booster seat with a secured adult seatbelt. A booster seat rises your child’s seating position so they can use the car’s seatbelt. If you’re using one with a lap-only seatbelt, you also need a child harness that provides shoulder support. Use the booster seat until your child’s eyes are at the same level as the top of the car seat, or until they weigh 26 kg.

Booster seats are also available as a base only (commonly referred to as a booster cushion) or with backs and sides. Boosters with backs and sides provide head support for a sleeping and protection for a child's head against whiplash in an accident.

Note:  Some manufacturers sell child restraints that can be converted to different types. For example, lying down or sitting upright. With this type of restraint, the manufacturer may specify different weight ranges (for the child) for the different types of use. A child restraint should never be used outside the range specified by the manufacturer.

Always check the manufacturer's instructions to find out how to properly install the restraint and how to adjust the harness. Make sure the harness is fitted snugly every time you use the restraint.

All child restraints sold in Australia must meet stringent Australian Standard (AS) requirements, considered among the toughest in the world. If fitted and used properly, any of them can be expected to provide very good crash protection for your child.

A child is too tall for a booster seat if their eye level is above the top of the booster seat when they are sitting on it.

When buying baby car seats always:

• Look for a model that carries the Standards Australia mark.

• Ensure you get the installation manual when making your purchase.

• Try a few different models in your car before you buy. Restraints can be contoured differently and one may fit your car better than another.

• And lastly, but most importantly Bubs Baby Shops can’t stress enough about the importance of correctly installing your child’s car restraint.

Baby capsule or convertible baby car seat?

There are several different styles of baby capsules available. However, you can only use the baby capsule until your baby weighs nine kilograms approximately 6 months of age.

Convertible baby car seats are used facing rearward until your child reaches nine kilograms, 6 months (depending on the manufacturer's recommendations). Then your child can then use the seat facing forward until they are 18 kilograms or about four years old.

However, some convertible baby car seats are quite large and you may have problems fitting them into your car. Before you choose a car seat or capsule for your baby, you need to check:

• Will the baby capsule/ car seat fit comfortably into your car without pushing against the back of the front seat?

• Will there be enough room for other passengers?

• Will there be enough room around the baby capsule/ car seat to allow you to lift the baby and/or out?

Installing a child restraint

According to the RACV, about 70% of child restraints are installed incorrectly. This could significantly reduce the restraint’s ability to protect your child in a crash. So proper installation is crucial to getting the best crash protection from a restraint:
  • Authorized fitting stations can help you install a restraint properly — visiting one may be a good idea if you’re using a restraint for the first time.
  • Contact your state’s road traffic authority for more information on the correct restraint for your child and authorized fittings stations.
  • If you’re installing the restraint yourself, carefully read and follow the instructions — especially the sections on common mistakes and useful traveling safety tips, found in most manuals. The Bubs Team are only too happy to help with any questions you may have.

  • In NSW it is illegal to use a child restraint in the front passenger seat if the vehicle is fitted with a passenger air bag. Air bags may hurt or kill your child if inflated in a crash. Even if your car doesn’t have a passenger airbag, your child is still safer in the back seat. In some states it’s illegal to use a baby capsule in the front seat with or without a passenger air bag.
  • The safest position for a child restraint is the centre position of the rear seat, because it’ll offer better protection in a side-impact crash.  

Other Points to remember:

• All baby car seats are designed to have your baby facing the rear of the car. This is the safest way for a baby to travel in your car while they are still developing their neck muscles.

• Baby capsules and child car seats are fitted to the car by the car's seatbelt and a tether strap, which attaches to an anchor bolt/fitting. Every time you use the seat, make sure the harness is adjusted to fit the baby as snugly as possible.

• If you use a bunny rug, fasten the harness on the baby first and then put the rug over the baby.

• You will need to check the harness regularly and adjust it as the baby grows. The manufacturer's instructions will explain the right way to do this

Come on in to our store or browse online as Bubs Baby Shops offers a fantastic range of baby car seats, including convertible baby car seat models that can function as an infant restraint and child seat, or child seat and booster seat. Our experienced team can help you suit your individual needs and are happy to answer all your questions.

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