Car safety restraints
car; seat; safe; safety; capsule; booster; baby; restraint; airbag; passenger; seatbelt; harness; back; belt; ;
To be as safe as possible when travelling in cars, children and adults need to be using restraints or seatbelts that are properly fitted and suited to the age and size of the person.
The information that follows is from 'My licence - South Australian Government'
The laws in South Australia are consistent with the National Car Restraint Guidelines for Australia
When travelling in a motor vehicle in South Australia, all children and adults must be restrained in a suitable approved restraint that is the right one for their age and is properly adjusted and fastened.
The law is specific about what type of restraint is to be used at different ages and where children must be seated in a vehicle. The aim of these laws is to reduce the risk of injury caused by restraints that are unsuitable for a child's size.
The driver is responsible for ensuring all passengers are correctly restrained. Penalties include expiation fees and demerit points.
Children up to the age of 6 months
- Must use an approved rear-ward facing infant restraint.
- Must not travel in the front seat of a vehicle that has two or more rows of seats.
For more information have a look at the fact sheet
Children 6 months up to 4 years
Children 4 years up to 7 years
- Must use either an approved forward-facing child safety seat with an inbuilt harness, or a booster seat with a properly fastened and adjusted lap-sash seatbelt or child safety harness.
- Must not travel in the front seat of a vehicle that has two or more rows of seats, unless all the other seats are occupied by children who are also under 7 years.
- For more information have a look at the fact sheet
Children 7 years up to 16 years
- Must use either an approved child restraint (a child safety seat or booster seat depending on their size), or a seatbelt that is properly adjusted and fastened.
- An adult seatbelt won't generally fit a child properly until they are at least 145cm tall. Children should remain in a booster seat until they can wear a seatbelt safely.
- For more information have a look at the fact sheet
Child restraint laws are based on age (rather than by height or weight) because research indicates that this is easier for parents to follow and will result in the smallest number of children being inappropriately restrained. However, a child's height and weight are still important to consider when making a choice about the right restraint or booster seat for your child.
Babies are not safe when being held by another person. The person's arms will not be strong enough to hold the baby in an accident.
What the law says a driver must do
The driver is responsible for ensuring that children under 16 years are wearing their seatbelt, or have been strapped correctly into a restraint, and there are penalties if this is not done, including fines and demerit points.
Buying and fitting Child Restraints
All baby capsules, safety seats and booster seats should be correctly and securely fitted to the car and straps adjusted to fit the child. The type of restraint used depends on the child's age, weight, size and development.
Laws about car safety restraints apply to all cars, station wagons, four wheel drive vehicles and minibuses. An exemption applies to certain vehicles including taxis and buses which have more than 12 seats.
Toddlers and seatbelts
Some toddlers will not stay in their safety seat when travelling in the car. They continually undo the belt or harness. There are some devices to prevent this happening but these are not recommended as seatbelts have to be easy to undo in the case of an emergency, and they may cause extra injuries in a collision.
- It is important for parents to be very firm about children staying in their restraint.
- If your child undoes the seatbelt, stop the car and tell her firmly that the car is not allowed to go unless the seatbelt is done up.
- You may have to persist but it is important that she learns that undoing the seatbelt is not allowed and that you will not drive if anyone's seatbelt is undone.
Sitting in the back
Sitting in the rear seat of a car rather than the front seat reduces the risk of child injury or death by more than 35% in the event of a crash.
Seat belts and pregnant women
Every person travelling in a motor vehicle must use an approved restraint where one is available, properly fastened and adjusted. This includes pregnant women no matter what stage of pregnancy.
Resources in South Australia
- The Red Cross has a 'Safety Store' in Adelaide at 125 Henley Beach Road, Mile End 08 8443 9700 where car safety restraints can be hired and fitted.
- Another company that hires car restraints in South Australia is 'Hire for Baby' - they have centres in several metropolitan and country areas and their staff are trained in fitting safety restraints.
More to read
Raising Children Network
Pregnancy, birth and baby (Australian Government site)
The information on this site should not be used as an alternative to professional care. If you have a particular problem, see a doctor, or ring the Parent Helpline on 1300 364 100 (local call cost from anywhere in South Australia).
This topic may use 'he' and 'she' in turn - please change to suit your child's sex.