The mandatory standard for child restraints covers various requirements for the design, construction, performance, user instructions, marking and packaging of child car restraints.
Parents and carers use child car restraints to keep children safe inside cars. Restraints are suitable for children usually up to 10 years old with shoulder height of 530 mm. They are fitted in the car and used with existing adult seatbelts.
Under the mandatory standard, a child car restraint is a device used together with an adult seatbelt to restrain a child car passenger and reduce the risk of their bodily injury or death in the event of a car accident. It does not apply to child restraints designed for children with a disability or to features that already come with the car.
There are seven main types of child restraints under the mandatory standard. These are:
Type A: Rearward-facing or transversely installed restraint with a harness or other means of holding the child back
Type A: Rearward-facing only with ISOfix compatible connectors
Type B: Forward-facing only with rigid ISOfix compatible connectors:
Type C: Forward-facing harness without a chair
Type E: A booster seat used in conjunction with a lap-sash seatbelt suitable for children approximately four to 10 years of age whose height is less than 138 cm.
Type F: A restraint that consists of either:
- a booster seat used in conjunction with a Type C child restraint and a seatbelt, or with a lap-sash seatbelt, suitable for children approximately four to 10 years of age, or
- a converter used in conjunction with a seatbelt, suitable for children approximately eight to 10 years of age.
Type G: Forward-facing only up to approximately eight years
Combination Type: Child restraints can also be a combination of the above types. For example, a Type AB or BE converter seat.
Type AB: Rearward-facing
Type AB: Forward-facing
Type AB: Rearward-facing
Type AB: Rearward-facing with soft ISOfix compatible connectors
Type AB: Forward-facing with soft ISOfix-compatible connectors
Type BE: Booster mode with adult seatbelt
Type BE: With built in harness
The mandatory standard is based on the 2004, 2010 and 2013 versions of Australian and New Zealand Standard AS/NZS 1754 Child restraint systems for use in motor vehicles.
AS/NZS 1754 is a voluntary standard except for those sections in the 2004, 2010 and 2013 versions specifically called up by the mandatory standard. Suppliers must comply with any one of these versions of AS/NZS 1754 with variations outlined in the mandatory standard, which you must consult for these details.
For complete information about all mandatory requirements for child car restraints, we strongly advise that you read Consumer Protection Notice No. 3 of 2014. This information is essential to ensure you and your business comply.
The current mandatory standard came into effect on 19 September 2014.
These requirements aim to give suppliers a general idea of what is required by the mandatory standard. Suppliers must not rely on this information as a complete guide to compliance.
Design and construction
Harnesses and straps
- There must be upper tether straps to greatly reduce a child’s head jolting forward in a car accident.
- Forward-facing restraints must have double crotch straps—that is, a minimum five-point harness. Note that single crotch straps can harm the child’s genital area during impact from an accident.
- The harness should have a single-point adjustment so that the parent or carer can adjust it easily.
- The harness adjusters must be self-locking.
- The harness should have a quick-release buckle so that the parent or carer can quickly and easily free the child from the restraint.
Covers and liners must be included in the restraint to:
- cover any polystyrene that could be toxic to a child
- ensure harnesses aren’t easily twisted or tangled so that they can restrain the child properly and comfortably.
- Components and accessories must be rigid, not come off and not be sharp or otherwise harmful if a child can access them.
- The anchoring system must meet certain size and dimension requirements to ensure the child restraint is compatible with different car seats.
- Components must be durable enough to resist regular wear.
- Webbing ends must not unthread.
- Suppliers should have a wide-ranging, dynamic testing method in place that includes these simulated impacts:
- Infant crash test dummies must be specially developed—they must meet certain requirements that make them especially flexible.
- The harness adjustment must be tested for ease of use.
Each child restraint must come with instructions for installation, use and maintenance as well as general information. These instructions and information need to come in a booklet or sheet that must be:
- attached to the child restraint and removable, or
- provided in a pocket as part of the child restraint.
For Type C restraints, the booklet or sheet must be in the package with the child restraint.
Suppliers must ensure each child restraint is permanently and legibly marked with various warnings.
The following warnings must appear on all child restraints:
- Use the restraint exactly as shown in the instructions.
- Supervision of children is needed because they may be able to undo buckles.
- DO NOT LEAVE CHILDREN UNATTENDED IN THE CAR.
- Do not alter or modify this restraint.
- Repairs must only be done by the manufacturer or agent.
- Do not allow the restraint to come into contact with polishes, oils, bleach and other chemicals.
- Destroy the restraint if it has been in a severe crash, even if no damage is visible.
There are additional warnings required for each particular type of restraint. Check Table 6.2 in AS/NZS 1754 for specific additional marking requirements.
Child restraint packaging must display the relevant warnings as above.