Child car seat laws in Western AustraliaPublished Wednesday, June 26, 2019
Child car seat laws in Western Australia have come along way when it comes to travel safety and children. Early car seats were actually designed more to ‘contain’ a child during travel rather than protect them in a crash. It wasn’t until the 1960’s that an impact protection car seat was finally designed, but due to a lack of information on the subject, the general public did not embrace this notion of children’s car seats for safety.
This changed slightly in the mid 70’s and the advocacy for children’s car safety finally began and people began to think seriously about using car seats and buckling in their children.
Even still, I have memories as a kid in the 80’s going on very long road trips as a family and neither my brother or myself were buckled into the back of our old gold Valiant. Either because we were never told to, we had forgotten, there were too many people and not enough seat belts or if it was summer, the sun had made the buckle so scorching hot we were rather reluctant to touch it or the surrounding area around it.
The reality is however that even today with the best of the best in car seats available, if you are using the wrong seat for the wrong age or size of the child, the seat will most likely not do what it has been designed to do, protect the child from injury in an accident.
In Western Australia, the leading cause of death and the third most frequent cause of hospitalisation for children aged 0-14 years is transport related injury. Motor vehicles accidents are one of the most common causes of transport related injury for children. Whenever children are passengers in a vehicle they should be seated in the most appropriate child restraint for their age and size. To travel safe with children and to provide the best protection for your child in a motor vehicle, follow these simple steps:
- Buckle up Every Child on Every Trip. Always choose, correctly fit and use the restraint most appropriate for your child’s age and size.
- Use a restraint which has been approved to the Australian Standards AS/NZS 1754 for child car restraints.
- Prior to 2011, restraints complying with AS/NZS 1754 use weight limits as guides for use.
- From 2011 onward, restraints will start to use height as the guide for usage—they will have height markers on them with direction for correct usage.
- Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the child car restraint you are using.
- Second hand restraints should be used with caution. You should be aware of the history of the restraint and be sure that the restraint has all the appropriate fittings. Any restraint that is more than 10 years old should not be used.
- Children are safest when travelling in the back row/rows of seats in the vehicle.
- Do not move your child to the next restraint until they have outgrown it. Ensure your child has exceeded the maximum size limits of the restraints available for their age group before choosing to progress to the next stage of restraint.
Minimum age requirements for child car restraints:
Birth – 6 Months
6 Months – 4 years
4 – 7 years
A booster seat should be used until EITHER: the child is at least seven years of age OR the child’s shoulders are above the upper limit of all AS/NZS:2010 and 2013 Standard boosters. To tell whether the adult seat belt fits a child, the child needs to be placed in the chosen seating position and check that the sash part of the seat belt sits flat on the shoulder and does not come in contact with the child’s face or neck. Lap sash seat belts offer far greater protection than lap-only belts. Because children are far more fragile than adults, putting them in a position that has a lap belt should be avoided. When fitted correctly a lap-sash seat belt does not come into contact with the face or neck.
If you are having trouble fitting your child restraint, why not visit one of the trained professionals and have it done for you?
They will ensure the seat is fitted correctly and can show you how to make adjustments as required.
If you are looking at purchasing a used car for your growing family in Western Australia contact Westside Auto Wholesale on 08 6145 0099. You can also view all of our available stock on our website.