What the Law Says

Child Restraint Laws

With nearly 60 child passengers aged 0-16 years killed or seriously injured in road crashes in South Australia each year, new laws were introduced in 2010 to provide maximum protection for children travelling in vehicles.

The laws require:

  • Infants up to six months old to be restrained in an approved rearward facing infant restraint (Dedicated infant restraint or rearward facing convertible safety seat).
  • Children aged between six months and four years old to be seated in either an approved rearward or forward facing child restraint (i.e. a safety seat with inbuilt harness).
  • Children from the age of four to seven years old to be seated in an approved forward facing child restraint (with inbuilt harness) or an approved booster seat (restrained by a correctly adjusted seatbelt or child safety harness).
  • Children 7 years and over will be required to be restrained in an approved child restraint (child safety seat or booster seat depending on their size) or a properly fitted and adjusted seatbelt.
  • Children under the age of four to be seated in the rear of the vehicle (where the vehicle has two or more rows of seats).
  • Children from the age of four to seven years to be permitted in the front of the vehicle if all rear seats are already occupied by children up to the same age (where the vehicle has two or more rows of seats).

Download the "Right child, right restraint, right time..." fact sheet here.

All child restraints must comply with the Australian Standard (AS/NZS1754) in order to gain approved status. An approved child restraint is easily recognised by the certification mark as shown below:

Child Restraint Standards

A child restraint fitted to a motor vehicle must:

  • Be used in accordance with the manufacturer's specifications
  • Be securely attached to an anchorage point and seat belt as specified by the manufacturer
  • Be maintained in sound condition and good working order

The seatbelt or child restraint must be worn properly adjusted and securely fastened in all motor vehicles at all times. A properly adjusted seatbelt must pass over the pelvis and hips; must not touch the wearer’s head or neck and must be adjusted so the buckle is at or below the level of the hip. As seatbelts are designed primarily for adults, a child restraint must be provided until they are able to wear the seatbelt correctly.

Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions when installing and using a restraint. 


More Motoring & Road Safety Information

RAA Child Safety Centre