Western Australia Minister for Road Safety Rob Johnson
New Child Car Restraint Laws Set For October
Victor P Taffa
The State Government will introduce new laws on October 1 this year that will reduce the risk of injury caused by the use of unsuitable restraints in vehicles.
The changes specify the type of restraint to be used at different ages and where children must be seated in a vehicle.
Road Safety Minister Rob Johnson said the current system of allowing young children over the age of 12 months to use a standard seat belt did not provide them with an adequate level of safety when travelling in vehicles.
“A child that is properly secured in an approved child restraint is less likely to be injured or killed in a car crash than one who is not restrained or restrained in a seat that is inappropriate for their size.” Mr. Johnson said.
“Every year in WA, about 14 child passengers aged between 0 and 16 years are killed on our roads, with a further 230 seriously injured.”
“Just over 20 % of deaths in this age group, and 9 % of those seriously injured, were not wearing a restraint at the time of the crash.” Mr. Johnson said.
The changes will ensure WA complies with the new Australian Road Rules and will require that children:
- From birth to the age of six months to be restrained in a rearward facing child restraint (such as an infant capsule);
- From six months up to the age of four years to be restrained in either a rearward or forward facing child restraint with in-built harness;
- From four years up to the age of seven years to be restrained in either a forward facing child restraint or booster seat restrained by a correctly adjusted and fastened seat belt or child safety harness.
Children aged seven years and over can still be restrained in an adult seat belt as the law currently allows.
Children aged between four and up to seven years will not be permitted to sit in the front seat unless all other seating positions are already occupied by children under seven.
The Minister said the Government was not introducing the new laws until October to give parents and carers enough time to purchase or arrange the hire of the restraints they needed, or to make the necessary modifications to their vehicle. However, he urged all parents and carers to begin complying with the new laws as soon as possible.