It is legally required that you use a suitable car seat for your baby when travelling by car.
Babies must travel in a rearward facing car seat for at least 6 months. The safest option is to keep your baby in a rearward facing seat for as long as it can accommodate your baby’s height and size.
Here are a few simple steps you can take to keep your baby as safe as possible in their car seat.
Choosing a safe car seat
There are a range of child car seat options on the market to suit different budgets and stages of development. When choosing a car seat for your baby, here are some simple things to check:
- Can’t see an Australian safety compliance label? Don’t buy it. All car seats must comply with current Australian safety standards (AS/NZS 1754) to reduce the risk of injury and death in a car accident.
- Confirm road safety advice on using car seats in your state or territory, as laws relating to local use can vary.
- The car seat must be suitable for your car and your baby’s size and approximate age. As long as it fits, keeping your baby in a rearward facing car seat for as long as possible offers the best protection in an accident.
- There should be instructions for assembly, use and maintenance as well as warning labels.
- The car seat must have tether straps which attach to your car and reduce the movement of the car seat in the event of an accident.
- Look out for a minimum 5-point safety harness with double-crotch straps and a quick release buckle to quickly remove your baby from their car seat.
- Check that parts of the car seat that your baby can reach are not rigid or sharp.
Second-hand car seats shouldn’t mean second-rate safety
There’s no cargo more precious than your baby. While using, buying or borrowing a second-hand car seat may be appealing, there are a few things you should check:
- Look for labels that show compliance with the current Australian mandatory safety standard for Child restraints for use in motor vehicles.
- Confirm that the car seat is appropriate for your child’s approximate age and size.
- Copies of instructions for assembly, safe use and maintenance.
- The car seat should be in good condition – watch out for signs of wear and tear like cracks, frayed straps or broken buckles.
- Verify the car seat’s history with the previous owner.
- The buckle should click in place securely and not jam.
What to avoid