We all want to ensure our children are safe when they’re travelling in a vehicle. Many road rules and traffic laws in Australia differ from state to state, making it a bit confusing for those that travel a lot around the country. It’s no different when it comes to child car seat restraints, especially when you consider the different laws when using taxis, buses, and rideshare vehicles such as Uber or Ola.
Any parent knows the benefits of using the correct child car seat appropriate to the age and size of the child. When it comes to private vehicles and child transportation, every state in Australia generally follows the same rules. Children to the age of seven years old cannot travel in a car without a correctly fitted, properly fastened child restraint that meets Australian safety standards.
But what happens when you need to travel by taxi, bus or ride share with your child? Who then is responsible for ensuring your child’s safety?
Laws for taxis
In New South Wales, the law states that all children under 12 months old must be in an approved child car seat as per national legislation for approved car restraints. All children from 12 months to 16 years are permitted to wear a standard seatbelt while travelling in taxis, but parents or the taxi service may wish to use a child car seat or booster seat.
In all other states and territories, it is not a requirement for children to be in car seat restraints when travelling in taxis. You can, of course, ask for a child car seat to be available for pre-booked taxis, which is recommended for the safety of your child.
Taxi drivers are not required to provide child car seats or booster seats, but their vehicles must all have the correct anchor points for fitting a restraint if requested at time of booking, or if the traveller is supplying their own seat for use.
Laws for rideshares and private hire cars
The rules covering children travelling in booked vehicles, such as hire cars and rideshares differ to taxis. They are essentially the same as for privately used cars.
These car services, as a minimum, are required to provide a child restraint anchor point, but they are not required to provide the car seat or booster. You should book ahead of time and ask if they can supply the appropriate car seat or booster or supply your own if travelling in these vehicles.
There are a few circumstances where exceptions exist for the use of child restraints; these include when traveling by public transport (i.e. by train, bus, trams etc), medical conditions and some physical disabilities.
Children in the front seat
Across Australia, no passenger under the age of four years may sit in the front seat, and no passenger aged between four and seven years may sit in the front seat, unless the back seats are also occupied by children under seven years. This rule is the same for all vehicles.
So, as you travel around the country during the upcoming school holidays, make sure your child is buckled up according to the law to keep them safe and to avoid a hefty fine.
- Road Safety Transport NSW
- Road Safety Transport VIC
- RACQ child restraint laws
Written by Shine Lawyers. Last modified: September 6, 2019.