Child Car Seat Laws in Queensland: Ensuring a Safe Ride for Our Young Ones
When driving with children up to 7 years of age, it is mandatory to ensure they are safely secured in an Australian Standard (AS) approved child restraint. This rule applies whether the vehicle is moving, stationary, but not when parked. Let’s dive into the essential details about the child car seat laws in Queensland as provided by the QLD Transport Department.
2. Importance of Approved Child Restraints
Child restraints that carry the AS sticker have undergone testing and have been approved as meeting the standard AS/NZS 1754. These restraints are designed with the safety of your child in mind and it’s illegal to use child restraints purchased overseas unless they comply with the AS/NZS 1754 standard.
It is recommended to use a child restraint that is less than 10 years old, as indicated by a sticker showing approval and a date stamp for when the restraint was manufactured. Avoid using a child restraint that has been involved in a crash. When using a second-hand child restraint, ensure to get a copy of the manufacturer’s instructions for safe use.
3. Penalties for Non-Compliance
The safety of your child should always be your priority. However, for those who need a little extra motivation, it is essential to know that a penalty of $1,161 and 4 demerit points will be incurred for each child that is not properly restrained. The penalties double for second or subsequent child restraint or seatbelt offences committed within 1 year after an earlier offence.
4. Types of Child Restraints
The type of child restraint to be used mainly depends on the child’s age, with some considerations for the child’s size as well.
- Babies up to 6 months old: They must be in an approved rear-facing restraint that is properly fastened and adjusted. For better protection, it is recommended to keep babies in a rear-facing restraint for as long as their size allows.
- Babies and children—6 months to 4 years: Must be in an approved child restraint that can be either rear-facing or forward-facing with a built-in harness.
- Children—4 to 7 years: They must be in an approved child restraint that is forward-facing with a built-in harness or in an approved booster seat secured with an adult lap-sash seatbelt.
- Children 7 years and over: They may sit in a standard seat with an adult seatbelt, an approved booster seat, or remain in an approved child restraint that is forward-facing with a built-in harness.
Before moving from a booster seat to a standard car seat, the child must pass all aspects of the 5-step test.
5. Where Should Children Sit
For vehicles with more than one row of seats, babies and children up to 4 years old must not sit in the front seat. Children aged 4 to 7 years can only sit in the front seat if all other seats are occupied by children under 7 years old. Children 7 years and over can sit in the front seat.
If the car has only one row of seats, children of any age can sit in the front seat, provided they are properly restrained. However, a rear-facing child restraint shouldn’t be used in the front seat if it’s positioned close to an airbag.
6. Exemptions from Complying with Standard Child Restraint Laws
Public transport and children with specific medical conditions or disabilities are granted certain exemptions from these laws. For public transport, it’s worth noting that child restraints are not required on buses, trains, or personalised transport services like taxis.
For children with temporary or long-term medical conditions or physical disabilities preventing them from using compliant child restraints, there are guidelines on how they can be safely transported in a vehicle. Health professionals can prescribe safe alternatives that adhere to the AS/NZS 4370 standard for restraining children with disabilities or medical conditions in motor vehicles.
Ensuring the safety of your child while travelling in a vehicle is of utmost importance. Queensland’s comprehensive child car seat laws are designed to protect the safety of children when they’re on the road, and it’s essential for all drivers to fully understand and follow them. By using the correct child restraints and booster seats according to the child’s age and size, and following the seating placement laws, you are not only following the law but more importantly, you’re significantly reducing the risk of serious injury in case of a road accident. Remember, child safety in a vehicle is not just a legal obligation, it’s an investment in the protection and well-being of your children.