Child car seats – keeping children safe

Choosing and using the safest child car seat

It is the law that all children under 16 years of age, when travelling in a motor vehicle in Victoria, must be restrained in a suitable restraint or adult seatbelt that is properly adjusted & fastened.

The following information by our road safety partners will assist you in making the correct choices when buying and using child car seats.

Prior to buying a child car seat visit www.childcarseats.com.au for information and safety ratings. This useful site can help you compare child car seats in terms of safety protection and ease of use.

Transportation of children with additional needs

Research shows that children with disabilities have a greater risk of injury or fatality as a result of a vehicle collision than other children. Some parents and carers of children with a disability may find it challenging to obtain a car restraint that meets their child’s special needs.

Concern about the lack of knowledge and expertise around supporting the travel needs of children with a disability or medical condition led to the establishment of the Victorian Transportation of Children and Youth with Additional Needs Partnership (TOCAN).  ELAA is a member of TOCAN.

TOCAN has developed a website to assist parents and carers of children with disabilities find the information they need to ensure that their child is transported safely, comfortably and legally. This site also has helpful information for occupational therapists and other health practitioners.

Go to www.rch.org.au/tocan/

Information in other languages

ELAA has developed the information brochure Travelling with children in cars in 22 languages and 10 audio versions.

Travelling with children in cars   (HTML version)

Information for download

Child Restraints October 2016 – VicRoads

Using child restraints brochure – RACV

Child restraints and airbags – RACV

Nino’s child restraint challenge video – RACV TAC

Transporting children with additional needs

When is it safe for a child to use an adult seatbelt or sit in the front seat?

Parents and professionals working with children often ask when is it safe for a child to use an adult seatbelt or sit in the front seat.

Children aged between 7 and 16 years are required to use a booster seat or adult seat belt when travelling in a vehicle. An adult lap sash seatbelt is designed for people of a minimum height of 145 cms and over (the average age children reach this height is between 10 to 12 years old).

The safest option for your child will depend on your child’s height – do the five step test to find out.

The five step test

This five-step test can help assess whether a child is big enough to be safely restrained by a seatbelt. The child should be able to:

  1. Sit with their back against the seat back
  2. Bend their knees comfortably over the front of the seat cushion
  3. Sit with the sash belt across their mid-shoulder
  4. Sit with the lap belt across the top of their thighs
  5. Remain in this position for the whole trip.
Starting Out Safely Right Starting Out Safely Right Two