Child Car Seats. The Law vs Safest Practice

Posted by Michele Scott on Thursday, October 22, 2015

The Law is a legal minimum. It is best to keep your child in each stage of child restraint for as long as possible. You can tell if your child has outgrown their current stage of child restraint when their shoulders are level with the height markers on the cover of their child car restraint. 

For older child restraints (Pre 2011), refer to your child restraint manual for the maximum weight limits for each stage of use of your restraint. 

The Law vs Best Practice

LAW: The Law is the legal minimum. By no means is this an indication of the maximum that your child can use each stage of child restraint. The Maximum is determined by the size of your child.
RECOMMENDATION: The Recommendation is an indication of best practice child safety. By no means is this enforced by the law. Your child will be a lot safer if you follow best practice guidelines for restraining your child in the car. 
A child restraint only has the ability to keep your child safer if it is correctly fitted and adjusted every single time it is used.


Keep babies & toddlers in a rear-facing car seat with in-built harness  for as long as possible. 

LAW: Until AT LEAST 6 months old (This is a legal minimum)
RECOMMENDED: Until at least 2 to 3 years old


Keep pre-school and early school age children in an in-built  harness car seat for as long as possible. 

LAW: Until AT LEAST 4 years old. 
RECOMMENDED: Until at least 5 to 8 years old. 

Booster seat
Keep older school age children in a booster seat with full adult seatbelt for as long as possible.

LAW: Until AT LEAST 7 years old. 
RECOMMENDED: Until at least 8 to 10 years old. 

Back seat
Keep all children in the back seat of the car for as long as possible.

LAW: Until AT LEAST 7 years old.
RECOMMENDED: Until at least 12 years old. 

Please ensure that your child restraint is no more than 10 years old, and is in good working order. Child restraints older than 10 years will need to be destroyed as they are no longer effective in protecting a child in the event of a collision. Don't put your child, or anyone else's at risk. 

Top tethers and harness webbing that show signs of fraying will either need to be replaced by a  manufacturer recommended repair agent, or the restraint will need to be destroyed.

The information presented in this article has been provided by Child Safety Solutions