Rules for Car Seats in Queensland for Kids
Updated 2019 using information found on the Child Restraints section of the Queensland Department of Transport website. As your kids grow older they will start to outgrow their car seat or restraint. This can lead to some confusion about what to use for the next stage and when your child can or should stop using a restraint. So, what are the rules for car seats in Queensland for kids?
Queensland rules and laws for car seat requirements for children
The law is clear. All children under 7 years of age must sit in an Australian-Standard-approved restraint. An approved child restraint will display an Australian Standards Tick logo.
Always read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions when installing a child restraint. Check your vehicle owner’s manual to find where the anchor points are located in your car.
Once your child has outgrown their baby capsule or restraint (refer to rules for car restraints for babies here) there are two different levels of seats that can be used until your child reaches 7 years of age.
6 Months – 4 Years
If no longer able to fit in a rear-facing restraint, children aged over 6 months must be in a forward facing child restraint with inbuilt harness. This restraint must be used until they outgrow the restraint by height (or weight if it is an older seat). Please refer to the Queensland Department of Transport link below for specific information about how to tell when a child has outgrown a seat.
4 – 7 Years
A child may be in an approved child restraint that is forward-facing with a built-in harness that is properly adjusted and fastened. They may also be in an approved booster seat secured with an adult lap-sash seatbelt or a fastened and adjusted H-Harness, however research shows that a booster does not provide as much safety as a proper forward-facing restraint in some instances.
7 Years plus
If over 7 years of age, children may sit in a standard seat with an adult seatbelt, or an approved booster seat/cushion secured with an adult lap-sash seatbelt or an H-Harness. Or, they may be in an approved child restraint that is forward-facing with a built-in harness that is properly adjusted and fastened.
The law does change from time to time and we would advise checking the Queensland Department of Transport website before making a decision about the type of restraint you use – https://www.qld.gov.au/transport/safety/rules/children/when-to-move.
When deciding whether to remove a child car restraint altogether, consider:
- Do their knees reach the front of the carseat?
- Does the seatbelt sit low on their waist?
- Does the seatbelt come across their shoulders properly and not cut into their neck?
- Will they sit there restrained properly while driving?
If the answer to any of these questions is no, then you may need to delay the removal of the booster. This is not about their comfort, it is about their safety.
Second-hand child restraints
Purchasing multiple restraints for multiple kids can become an expensive exercise. Whilst Kidsafe do not recommend using or purchasing a second-hand restraint, if this is an option you want to pursue there are a few things to remember:
- It is recommended that the restraint be under 10 years old. The straps can start to deteriorate after this amount of time, so, to ensure they work properly, stick to a restraint that is less than 10 years old.
- The Australian Standards Sticker must be visible.
- An instructions label must be visible and the restraint must have an instructions book (this is often tucked into a pouch on one of the straps behind the seat).
- Do not use a restraint that has been in an accident or submerged in floodwaters.
- There must be no wear and tear on the straps or buckles.
- Ensure you check that the adjusters still work correctly.
Additionally, child restraints purchased overseas (either new or second-hand) may only be used in Queensland if they comply with AS/NZS 1754.
At what age can children sit in the front seat in Queensland?
As your kids get older and you need to fit more and more kids in your car it is also important to know where they are allowed to sit.
Cars with more than one row of seats:
- Babies and children up to 4 years old MUST NOT sit in the front seat.
- Children aged 4-7 years can only sit in the front seat (with seatbelt) if all other seats are occupied by children under 7 years of age.
- Children over 7 years can sit in the front seat with no booster or restraint but obviously need to wear a seatbelt.
Cars with only one row of seats:
- Children of any age can sit in the front seat as long as they are properly restrained as per the above child restraint guidelines.
- If a car has a passenger airbag, a rear-facing child restraint shouldn’t be used in the front seat if the restraint is positioned close to the airbag.
Correct fitting of child car restraints
It is also important to make sure that your car restraint or capsule is correctly fitted to your vehicle. Ensure you read the manufacturer’s instructions when installing your restraint. Check your Vehicle Owner’s Manual to locate the anchor points in your car. For something as important as this it may be necessary to bring in the professionals. For a fee you can have this professionally fitted or checked by Kidsafe or at an RACQ Vehicle Inspection Station.
Penalties in Queensland for not having a child restraint correctly installed
Our kids are precious and their safety is our top priority. The penalties for not having your child correctly restrained reflects this with a $391 fine and 3 demerit points for each child that is not restrained properly. Double demerit points will apply for second or subsequent child restraint or seatbelt offences committed within 1 year after an earlier offence.
If you have any questions about the choice, purchase or fitting of your baby restraint or capsule you can contact Kidsafe on ph (07) 3854 1829, or check out their website at www.kidsafeqld.com.au. You can also find useful information on the Queensland Transport website.
NOTE: This information is current as at 24 April 2019. For specific and up-to-date information, we always recommend contacting Kidsafe or the Department of Main Roads in Queensland, as laws can and do change.
Please also see our post on Rules for Car Seats in Queensland for Babies.