I don’t recall talking about car seats on this blog, so I’m going to talk about them now.
There are so many car seats with so many different designs on the market that it can be hard to know which is the right one. At least you can rest easy knowing that all car seats must be certified under the Australian safety standards before they can be sold. So as long as you pick the right car seat for your child and your car, they’ll be safe.
Australian law states that your child should be in a car seat until they are about seven years old AND can pass the “five-step-test.” Passing this test includes:
- Sit with their backs firmly against the back seat
- Bend their knees comfortably over the front of the seat cushion
- Sit with the sash belt across their mid-shoulder
- Sit with the lap belt across the top of their thighs
- Stay in this position for the whole car trip
Even if your kid is over seven years old, if they cannot pass this test, they are not able to wear an adult seatbelt and stay safe should anything happen. Most seven-year-olds can’t pass the test due to size requirements, but there are some, so it’s best to go by the five-step test anyway.
In regards to car seat requirements for your child, Queensland law states:
- babies up to 6 months must be in a rear-facing car seat
- children 6 months to 4 years may be in a forward-facing car seat
- children between the ages of 4 and 7 may be in a forward facing car seat or a booster seat
- Children over the age of 7 can stay in their car seat or booster if they still fit
- Children over the age of 7 are legally allowed to sit in the front seat, but Kidsafe recommend that you keep them in the backseat until they are 12
When considering your car, you should consider some of the following (not a comprehensive list):
- Compatibility (can it fit in prams/strollers?)
- Ease of cleaning
- Size (can it fit in the car and will it fit with other passengers?)
- Anchorage points
- Convenience (some can be used for multiple age groups)
- Reviews/family suggestions
If you’re considering a second-hand car seat (or borrowing), it should be under 10 years old and you should be fully aware of the history. Buying a car seat that has been in a car accident is NOT recommended. It’s best to buy from someone you know and trust but make sure to do a thorough check to ensure nothing is damaged. If you have any concerns at all, trust your instinct and DO NOT BUY.