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New rules for child restraint in cars

By johnboy - 15 March 2011 22

Chief Minister Stanhope has announced the start of new laws on keeping the kids buckled up:

The laws require children to be seated in an Australian Safety Standard approved child restraint or booster seat, according to their age and size. They mandate that:

— babies up to six months must be secured in a rear facing capsule or restraint;
— children between six months and under four years must travel in a rear facing or forward facing child restraint with an in-built harness; and
— children between four years and under seven years must use a forward facing child restraint with an in-built harness or a booster seat.

The laws also prohibit children under four years from sitting in the front seat of a car where rear seating is available. Children aged between four years and under seven years must not travel in the front seat unless all other seats in the car are being used by children under seven years.

There’s also an FAQ on the laws.

What’s Your opinion?


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22 Responses to
New rules for child restraint in cars
Tooks 7:55 am 16 Mar 11

mikal said :

So to my reading of the rules, if I voluntarily use a child seat with a kid over seven which does not comply with Australian Standards, then I am in trouble?

Why would you use a child seat with a kid over seven?

JC 7:40 am 16 Mar 11

aronde said :

I am glad to see in the FAQs that if your child is between four and under seven and too tall/heavy for a booster seat then they can use a normal seat belt. Our kids were to tall for them well before they hit seven!

Though I do have a concern with the rules for the kids who are seven or over and also small for their age (I know quite a few seven year olds who would pass for being five!) Once you hit seven it appears that legally you do not need to put them in any booster seat even though they would obviously be safer in one.

Have you not heard of a thing called common sense? If your kid is too small and they are over 7, then use some of it and keep them in the booster, nothing stopping you.

Unfortunately laws like this are a feeble attempt at trying to get those with no common sense to do the right thing, generally though they don’t work because those without common sense usually don’t care too much for laws either,

cleo 3:34 am 16 Mar 11

The rules are in, a friend had the seat fitted at Pearce Community Centre.

Pippy 11:24 pm 15 Mar 11

mumoftwo said :

Until Children hold Idenification whenever they’re in the car, how are they supposed to police this????? What a waste of time…

are you mental? the rules are supposed to PROTECT YOUR CHILDREN how are they a waste of time? this is protective legislation, not prohibitive.

screaming banshee 8:07 pm 15 Mar 11

The number of times I see kids ‘playing’ on the back seat or cargo space of a moving vehicle.

Just last week I saw a parent sitting in the back see with a child on their lap just before the driver sped away from the lights to cut me off while going straight ahead in the right turn lane of a roadworks zone. Lets hope darwin has more resources than the police.

thatsnotme 6:49 pm 15 Mar 11

mumoftwo said :

Until Children hold Idenification whenever they’re in the car, how are they supposed to police this????? What a waste of time…

Are you serious? How is any measure designed to keep children safe in cars a waste of time? The major change here is that now, the laws for how children are restrained in a vehicle are uniform Australia wide – so it doesn’t matter where you are, the law will be the same. To my way of thinking, laws like these are less about pulling people over, and more about being able to send a uniform message out to parents. And the introduction of the laws seems like a great time to be able to do some education.

Yep, it’s difficult to police, but what’s the alternative? A free for all situation where parents can just do whatever they want? I couldn’t care less about what any fine for breaking the rules might be – what I do care about is that with uniform laws, I’ll be able to look online and find consistant information about where it’s safe for my child to sit in the car, and what he should be sitting in.

aronde 6:28 pm 15 Mar 11

I am glad to see in the FAQs that if your child is between four and under seven and too tall/heavy for a booster seat then they can use a normal seat belt. Our kids were to tall for them well before they hit seven!

Though I do have a concern with the rules for the kids who are seven or over and also small for their age (I know quite a few seven year olds who would pass for being five!) Once you hit seven it appears that legally you do not need to put them in any booster seat even though they would obviously be safer in one.

s-s-a 4:38 pm 15 Mar 11

Until Children hold Idenification whenever they’re in the car, how are they supposed to police this????? What a waste of time…

The issue is less about children at the marginal end of the rules than it is about the fact that until today it was perfectly legal to put a child above the age of 12m into an adult seat belt with no booster, and that many people would do so once their child outgrew the seats that were recommended from birth-4y or 6m-4y.

New car seat standards that came into force with these laws use height of child as the primary guide, although most seats currently on the shelves are labelled under the old standards.

The new standards also allow some of the taller boosters currently on the market which are labelled “up to 26kg” to be certified for use by any weight of child up to a height of 132cm (from memory). However none are currently available.

Children are not supposed to fit properly into adult seat belts until they are 140cm high, which is way beyond most 7yos!!

dvaey 4:38 pm 15 Mar 11

mumoftwo said :

Until Children hold Idenification whenever they’re in the car, how are they supposed to police this????? What a waste of time…

Theres no way you can really check every child-seat. However, I can assure you that if youre in an accident, and you have a child who isnt restrained according to the law, they’ll be checking that. Its also illegal to disable speed limiters on some vehicles that have them fitted.. theres no way to police it, but if an accident occurs and youre found not to have disabled it, theyll find out.

I guess the real question should be what kind of parent is thinking about the risk of getting caught by the police, rather than the risk of their child dying from being unrestrained in an accident?

p1 4:28 pm 15 Mar 11

georgesgenitals said :

I thought that kids under 10 weren’t supposed to be in the front. My kids always sit in the back – the last thing I want is an airbag going off in their face.

The recommendations by car manufacturers concerning the age/size of children sitting in seats with airbags is a different thing altogether. That is based purely on if such a SRS is fitted.

mumoftwo 3:29 pm 15 Mar 11

Until Children hold Idenification whenever they’re in the car, how are they supposed to police this????? What a waste of time…

georgesgenitals 3:12 pm 15 Mar 11

I thought that kids under 10 weren’t supposed to be in the front. My kids always sit in the back – the last thing I want is an airbag going off in their face.

mikal 2:48 pm 15 Mar 11

So to my reading of the rules, if I voluntarily use a child seat with a kid over seven which does not comply with Australian Standards, then I am in trouble?

KaptnKaos 2:44 pm 15 Mar 11

And the resources to police this new ruling are coming from where?

dvaey 2:43 pm 15 Mar 11

Have these laws been relaxed since they were first talked about? Im sure I remember hearing of much more strict child-seat rules coming in, unless this is the rectification of those stricter laws?

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