Queensland Child Restraint Rules and Booster Seat Laws

In Queensland, as in most Australian states, children aged seven and below must be correctly fitted in an approved child restraint. However, you may be unaware of various child restraint and booster seat laws. Let's examine the road rules surrounding child safety in QLD motor vehicles.
Children holding hands following the QLD car seat belt rules

In Queensland, as in most Australian states, children aged seven and below must be seated in correctly fastened child restraints. However, you may be unaware of various laws regarding child restraints. Let’s look at the road rules surrounding child safety in vehicles in Queensland.

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QLD Seat Belt Laws

The driver is accountable for the safety of all passengers, regardless of age, including vehicle seat belts and the appropriate use of child restraints. Failure to do this may incur substantial fines and demerit points. A passenger over 16 can also be penalised for not wearing a seat belt. For example, if a passenger over the age of sixteen is not wearing a seat belt, they and the driver can be fined.

Speciality motor vehicles, such as vintage cars, may be excluded from these rules, so they may not be required to have seatbelts and child restraint anchor points. However, these motor vehicles can only carry appropriately restrained children.

Private-hire cars have the same laws as regular motor vehicles. Hiring companies will loan child restraints on request, but these restraints may require an extra fee.

For exemptions to the seat belt laws, view Section 267 of the Transport Operations (Road Use Management) Act 1995.

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Two children in approved child restraints

Child Restraint Guidelines

Although you would normally use a child’s age to determine the type of approved child restraint, their height may also be a factor.

Babies Under 6 Months Old

Babies younger than six months must be secured in a properly fastened and approved rear-facing restraint. They should travel with this restraint until they are no longer fit.

Children and Babies Between 6 months and 4 Years of Age

Children and babies between 6 months and 4 years old must travel in a properly fastened and approved child restraint. They can be seated in a forward or rear-facing child restraint.

Children Between 4 and 7 Years of Age

  • Children between 4 and 7 can sit in a forward-facing child restraint that is properly adjusted and securely fastened.
  • An approved booster anchored with an adult lap sash seatbelt

Children Age 7 and Older

  • Children over 7 years old can sit in a forward-facing seat using an adult seat belt or
  • An approved booster seat secured with an adult lap sash seatbelt

Note: When properly restrained, it is recommended that all children younger than 12 sit in the backseat of the car.

About Approved Child Restraints

Approved Child restraints in Australia must carry the Australian Standards mark to ensure they have been manufactured according to Australian and New Zealand standards. Otherwise, they cannot be legally used.

All child restraints sold in Australia will have a date mark. If you cannot find the date mark, contact the manufacturer. We advise against the use of restraints that are more than ten years old.

You should not use child restraints purchased overseas unless they are AS/NZS 1754 compliant.

What is the Penalty for Failing to Use an Approved Child Restraint?

You risk a fine of $1,161 and four demerit points for each child who is not secured in an approved child restraint that is properly fastened and adjusted.

If you commit a second or subsequent child restraint offence within a year of the initial offence, you will receive double demerit points.

Children in Front Seats

Children younger than seven must not sit in the front seat if a vehicle has two or more rows. However, even if the front passenger seat is the only one with a vehicle seatbelt, they may use it if all other seats are filled with kids their age or younger.

Once they are seven or older, kids can use an adult seatbelt or an approved booster seat with an adult seat belt to restrain them in the front seat.

A man considering child height for booster seat in a motor vehicle

Child Height for Booster Seat

In Queensland, it is recommended that a child use an approved booster seat until their height exceeds 145cm. On average, children reach this height at 11 years of age.

When Can I Change From Booster Seats to Regular Car Seats

The Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads recommends the five-step test for deciding when to change your child from an approved booster seat to a regular car seat with an adult seatbelt. They can make this change when they pass these five questions:

  1. Is your child able to sit with 100% of their back against the car seat?
  2. Can your child’s knees safely hang over the edge of the vehicle seat?
  3. Is the lap belt sitting low, touching their thighs and across their hips?
  4. Does the sash belt cross the shoulder in the middle?
  5. Can your child remain seated in this position until the end of your journey?

Rules for Taxis and Rideshares

Taxis and rideshares like Uber are where the laws get more challenging. These vehicles are not required to supply child restraints or booster seats. However, they must have anchor points to secure these devices.

When using these services, children 12 months and under may sit on the lap of someone aged 16 or over. However, they must not share the seatbelt. Meanwhile, children over 12 months old should be restrained with an adult seat belt if proper restraints are unavailable.

Bus Passenger Restraints

Buses are only required to have seatbelts if they have 13 or more rows. Buses with fewer than 13 rows must have seat belts and anchors for child restraints. If a larger bus has seatbelts, it should use them.

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For nearly three decades, Splatt Lawyers has offered informed legal insights for car accident injury compensation matters on a no win no fee basis. If you have been involved in a traffic accident on Queensland roads, contact us now to understand your legal rights. It costs nothing to know where you stand. Call 1800 860 777

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