Car safety

Keeping your kids safe at home or overseas

Australia has some of the stiffest road safety regulations anywhere in the world with regard to child restraints and car safety. This is a good thing. However these standards are not always replicated overseas, and statistics indicate that road accidents are one the biggest causes of fatalities in children when travelling overseas. It pays to be careful.

One of the best ways to ensure your child is as safe as possible when driving in another country – whether in a rental car or in a taxi – is to take your own child restraint with you and fit it into the vehicle you travel in.

Alternatively, you can contact car rental companies at your destination to ask them about child restraint regulations and what type of seats they have available to hire. If their equipment is of a suitable standard, you can avoid carrying your own gear.

Within Australia, regulations regarding children travelling in taxis can be confusing as the state laws vary. While the national regulations state children in private vehicles should use a restraint up to the age of seven, requirements for taxis (public vehicles) are quite different.

In New South Wales, for example, children under 12 months must be in a child restraint, and it’s generally not that difficult to find taxis which carry child restraints for infants. However once they are over 12 months children are required only to use a seatbelt, and many taxis don’t carry restraints suitable for older children. In Victoria, however, the rules are slightly different. If the taxi doesn’t carry a restraint and you’re travelling with a child under 12 months you don’t have to use one, but parents “are encouraged to provide their own suitable approved restraint”.

As a rule of thumb, it is always safer to travel with your own restraint.