Please note - January 2013 CREP update changes and ratings. Please read the CREP info further down the page.
I posted about this over on the sister site PIA. However I thought this would a useful thread to have as there are difference in car seat regulations between the UK/EU and Australia. This is all taken from my online research. Thought I'd share my findings.
Many people making the move to Australia are not aware that their UK car seats are not legal in Australia. Even if they have the latest, newest and highest rated UK/EU car seat, it won't matter a jot. It will be illegal to use in a car in Australia. Australian car seats are top tethered and have to be approved to Australian standards. Imported car seats are not tested or legal.
So what do you need to know
Child restraint laws
What seat does my child need?
Up to 6 months: Your baby must be restrained in an approved rearward facing child restraint like an infant capsule or a convertible car seat specifically designed for newborn babies. (NB - Just because you can turn your child forward facing at 6 months in Australia doesn't mean you should. Rear facing for as long as possible is advised for safety reasons).
6 months to 4-years-old: Your child must be in either a rearward facing or forward facing child restraint, such as a child safety seat.
4-years-old to 7-years-old: Your child must be in either a forward facing child restraints or a booster seat restrained by a correctly adjusted and fastened seatbelt or child safety harness.
You can read this information on RAC Australia, BabyCenter.com.au and also here at bubhub.com.au and kidssafewa.com.au. Just a number of websites online, national and different states, basically all saying the same thing with regard to the car seat laws. They are a national thing, regardless of state now.
**UPDATED CREP RESULTS JAN 2013** CREP have released their new test results. Please be aware they used additional criteria so some car seats star safety ratings have changed.
Car seat safety test findings from CREP (Child Restraint Evaluation Program)
This is the body that tests car seats on the Australian market. It has safety ratings for all types of seats. Click on the appropriate age group to view the results. Be aware some of these car seats are no longer available and newer models have been brought out. Also they are not the be all and end all in terms of testing and you should always take into account other information, test results and so on also.
New CREP ratings Jan 2013 - http://www.crep.com.au/crep-results.php
What type of car seat do I need to be looking at?
Capsule/Infant carrier - From birth to 9 months/1 year 9 or 12kg (depending on car seat limits) These are rear facing car seats.
Convertible car seat - Suitable from birth, rear facing from birth to weight/size limit then forward facing till 4 years
Forward facing car seats - 6 months - 4 years
Booster seats - 4-7 years of age. Both harnessed and seatbelt fitted. Highbacked fitted with top tether is becoming the norm.
A few other things -
* Britax is called Safe n Sound in Australia. They sell their car seats nationally. There website is here - http://www.britax.com.au/
* Maxi Cosi is Maxi Cosi - They currently don't appear to have an Australian website but you can find their car seats for sale online or in stores in Australia.
* There is also Facebook group for car seat safety in Adelaide. Adelaide Kids In Cars. Very helpful car seat experts who are more than happy to help answer your questions and more.
* Extended rear facing (from 1-4 years of age) is not yet available in Australia. Britax is planning to design and test an extended rear facing car seat in the not too distant future. You can find various groups on Facebook if you are interested in learning more about this. They are
Australian Parents for Rear Facing Car Restraints to 18 kg
Rear-Facing Down Under
Bring Extended Rearfacing To Australia
* There is also a thread on this forum for extended rear facing (ERF). It can be found HERE
* The Australia system uses the top tether. If you import a UK car you'll need to install tether points for fitting your Aussie car seats properly.
* Isofix is not yet legal in Australia. It has however passed a few hurdles and is currently waiting for final approval to enable car seat manufacturers to begin making and testing car seats fitted using Isofix (or the Aussie equivalent if they use the top tether also still). UPDATE July 29 2011 - Isofix is coming to Australia in 2013 - Read more HERE
* Please view this webpage to get an idea of a child safety harness for older children no longer needing a car seat - Scroll down the page to the last couple of photos - http://www.childrestraints.co.nz/australia.php
You can also find more info over on Carseatsafety.com.au and Roadwise.
The original thread for this is over on PIA
AUGUST 15 2012 - NEWS UPDATE ON AUS STANDARDS
You can download the draft HERE . You need to register and then download the PDF.
From a Britax press release -
On the 13th August 2012, Standards Australia released a draft of the revised Child Restraints Standard AS/NZS1754. The draft introduces a number of significant changes to the way Australian and New Zealand children will be restrained in cars in the future.
The key changes in the draft include:
- Child restraints will be made available in Australia that include lower attachment connectors allowing them to be engaged with ISOFIX low anchorages available in many cars. This new category is similar to systems offered overseas. As with all Australian child restraints, the upper tether strap is required for use;
- A new category of child restraints will be introduced to the Australian market, allowing most children to stay rear facing up to approximately two to three years of age;
- A new category of child restraint with an in-built harness for children from approximately six months up to eight to ten years of age will be introduced. Previously restraints with an in-built harness have only been available for children up to approximately four years of age;
- Introduction of testing and defining child restraints that are suitable for babies that are of low birth weight or premature, and
- Introduction of marking of child restraints suitable for aircraft travel.
The draft will be open for industry, government and consumers to review and comment until the 16th October 2012. Once the standard is approved for publication, expected to be early next year, Britax will endeavor to certify and release restraints that are compatible with ISOFIX low anchorages and within the new requirements of the standard. (Source Britax/Safe n Sound).