Car restraints for babies

Published by Baby Bunting on Sunday, January 27, 2019

Australian law is very clear on the requirements for safely restraining your infant while driving. Because your baby will undergo rapid development from three months to 12 months of age, you should be aware of how car restraint requirements change during this period.

From birth to six months

Babies below six months old must be in a safely secured rear-facing restraint. This can be either a capsule or a convertible, but it must be rear-facing and it must meet Australian safety standards.

You should consider getting each new car restraint you buy installed by an accredited fitter. They can adjust the restraint to your car and show you how to adjust it as your baby grows.

From six months to 12 months

Provided they have the strength to hold their head up, a baby can be switched to front-facing from six months of age. Some rear-facing restraints can accommodate babies up to 12 months old, although, as they grow, they will need to shift to a seated position.

Some models can be adjusted and reconfigured to accommodate your baby as they grow into their toddler years and early childhood. Speak to your retailer and read the product details carefully – if these models are used and adjusted safely, they can be a significant cost-saver.

At any age

  • If your car has two rows of seats, your baby must not be seated in the front row.
  • Baby harnesses (six-point harnesses) should be used as long as possible to provide maximum safety. They will come with instructions and markers that you must follow on how to adjust with the growth of your baby, or when to upgrade restraints.
  • Avoid buying second-hand car restraints as it can be impossible to know their history and they may not come with safe use instructions or labels showing that they meet Australian safety standards.
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