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 generally suitable for children up to ten 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 eight types of child restraints under the mandatory standard. These are:
Type A: Rearward-facing or transversely installed restraint with a harness (there are eight variations in this type)
Type B: Forward-facing chair with harness
Type C: Forward-facing harness used with a booster seat without a chair (there are two variations in this type)
Type D: Rearward-facing chair with harness
Type E: A booster seat used in conjunction with a lap-sash seatbelt suitable for children less than 128 cm in height
Type F: A booster seat used in conjunction with a lap-sash seatbelt suitable for children less than 138 cm in height
Type G: Forward-facing chair with harness
Type H: Converter used with a booster seat or with a seatbelt without a booster
Combination Type: Child restraints can also be a combination of the above types, such as:
- Type AB
- Type BE
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.
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
- WARNING: 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
The mandatory standard includes additional warnings required for each particular type of restraint and further information on the size, wording and format of the warning. Check Table 6.2 in AS/NZS 1754 for specific additional marking requirements.
Child restraint packaging must display the relevant warnings as above.
Other key requirements
- 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 with a minimum five-point harness as single crotch straps can harm the child's genital area during impact from an accident.
- The harness should have a single-point adjustment and tested for ease of use.
- 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.
- Other components and accessories must:
- be rigid, not come off and not be sharp or harmful if a child can access them
- have size and dimension requirements on the anchoring system so child restraints are compatible with different car seats.
- Components must be durable enough to resist regular wear.
- Webbing ends must not be unthreaded.
- Suppliers should include testing for frontal, side, rear and inverted simulated impacts.
- Infant crash test dummies must be specifically developed and meet certain requirements to make them especially flexible.