Is your schoolchild in the right seat belt? Police urge parents to check their child’s car restraints

Blacktown Highway Patrol officers will be checking that children are safely and correctly restrained while they are driven to and from school this week.

Spokesman Sergeant Paul Apap said the safe carriage of children in a motor vehicle was the responsibility of the driver.

‘‘As parents, every safety measure possible is important to ensure your child is seated in the safest restraints and positions for a child of any age,’’ he said.

‘‘Blacktown police will be ensuring the safety of all children on the roads this year with a focus on child restraint laws.’’

These new rules affect the way in which children under 16 years are to be restrained in motor vehicles and create four distinct age groups.

For each of these groups there is now a prescribed method of restraint set out in the Australian Road Rules.

● Up to six months.

 If the passenger is less than six months old, he or she must be restrained in a suitable and properly fastened and adjusted rearward facing approved child restraint.

● Six months to four years.

If the passenger is six months or older, but is less than four, he or she must be restrained in a suitable and properly fastened and adjusted:

(a) rearward facing approved child restraint, or (b) forward facing approved child restraint that has an in-built harness.

● Ages four to seven.

If the passenger is four or older but less than seven, he or she must be restrained in a suitable and properly fastened and adjusted forward facing approved child restraint that has an in-built harness, or be placed on a properly positioned approved booster seat and be restrained by a seatbelt that is properly adjusted and fastened.

BREAKOUT.

Commonly asked questions.

WHAT IF MY CHILD IS LARGER OR HEAVIER FOR THEIR AGE GROUP?

If due to the child’s height or weight they may move up to the next category of restraint.

HOW OLD DOES MY CHILD HAVE TO BE BEFORE I CAN PUT THEM IN THE FRONT SEAT OF THE CAR?

Rule 266 (3) and (3A) determine where passengers under seven may be seated in a vehicle.

• Children under the age of four cannot be seated in the front seat if the vehicle has two or more rows of seats. 

• If the child is over four but under seven they cannot occupy the front seat unless there are no available seating positions in the row or rows behind the front row.

An available seating position includes a seat that might be occupied by a person older than sevens.

For more information, go to the RMS (RTA) Website at www.RMS.nsw.gov.au.

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