One common misconception among the American parents I hear from is that our car seats and our car seat laws in the U.S. are the toughest anywhere. Not so. In fact, the European branded car seats you may purchase here are manufactured to meet our FMV standards only–not those of Europe or the U.K., which are different and some would argue more rigorous.
Regardless of whether your child’s car seat comes from the U.S., Canada., the U.K., continental Europe, or any other part of the world, if you’re planning a family vacation to Australia you’d better be prepared. Australia’s child safety seats are in fact tested to the highest standards in the world, and some of their laws concerning the use of car seats and safety boosters may not only be different from what you are accustomed to at home, but you may also be more likely to be fined for not adhering to the laws down under.
Helping us sort through the new, nationwide car seat laws in Australia is Sydney resident and AusMumpreneur Nominee, Danni Guerreiro. Danni owns Rock-a-Bye-Baby Equipment Hire
of Sydney, which now includes airport concierge service, and she was kind enough to answer my questions that follow here.
Car Seats for Infants
Q: One of my favorite Australianisms is “the baby capsule.” Can you tell us when and for how long it’s generally used?
A. Baby capsules are recommended for babies from birth to approximately 6 months of age, or 9kgs (20 lbs) in weight, whichever comes first.
Car Seats for Babies, Toddlers & Preschoolers
Q:Until what age and/or size are children in Australia required to ride rear-facing in their car seats?
A. In Australia, children are required to ride rear-facing in their car seats up until 6 months of age. After 6 months, they can use a forward-facing car seat.
Car Seats and Boosters for Preschoolers & Older Kids
Q: Until what age are children now required to ride in safety boosters?
A. Children must ride in a booster seat until they are 7 years old and may begin using boosters at age 4.
Safety Boosters & Laws for School-Age Kids
Q: At what age are kids allowed to ride in the front seat of cars in Australia?
A: That answer is dependent on how many seats are in the car and how many kids are in the car.
- Children under four years of age must not travel in the front row of a vehicle with two or more rows.
- Children riding in the front seat of a vehicle who are aged from four to seven years of age must be seated in a forward facing restraint or booster seat, even in the front seat.
- Children from four to seven years of age can only sit in the front row of a vehicle with two or more rows when all other seats are occupied by children of a lesser age in an approved child restraint.
Australian Car Seat Laws for Taxis
Q: Are child safety seats or boosters required in taxis in Australia?
A: The rules for travelling in taxis with children differ from state to state here in Australia. I recommend you check with the taxi company when you make your booking and take that opportunity to request a child seat be in your taxi in advance. Customer service or information desks at the Airport will assist you to book a taxi or hire car with child restraints when you arrive if need be.
Australian Standards for Car Seats
Q: I know that car seats sold in Australia must meet different—and it could be argued ‘more stringent’ safety standards than those in the U.S. and European markets. Technically, it’s illegal to use our own U.S. car seats in Australia. Have you ever heard of a tourist getting in trouble for using a U.S. car seat in Australia?
A: No I haven’t. But having said that, since the introduction of the National Child Restraint Laws in 2010, I do know that literally hundreds of penalty fines are issued each year across Australia to drivers who have children inappropriately restrained in their car.
If you are planning to spend time in Sydney, don’t miss the new Sydney: 5 Best with Kids Under 5 recommendations contributed by Danni, which include the best restaurant with kids, wildlife viewing, safest beach and more for your family’s Sydney vacation.
Related posts and pages:
Sydney: 5 Best with Kids Under 5
Moms Around the World: Cairns, Australia
Ask Shelly: Would you take the Sit N Stroll on my Air New Zealand Flight?
Author of Travels with Baby and the new Take-Along Travels with Baby
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