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Standards and regulations

An overview of the Australian and overseas standards relating to child restraints and accessories used by children with disabilities and medical conditions

Introduction

Australian and overseas standards/regulations provide requirements to support the design, safety and use of child restraint systems in motor vehicles.

However, these standards/regulations differ, particularly for child restraint systems designed for children with disabilities and medical conditions.

Child restraints sold through shopfronts in Australia (Australian standard car seats) comply with the Australian standard, whereas special purpose car seats comply with overseas standards/regulations. This is because, unlike the Australian standard for child restraints, overseas standards and regulations provide safety and performance requirements for special purpose car seats.

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Australian standards

There are three key Australian standards and a new one being developed that relate to transporting children with disabilities and medical conditions in motor vehicles.

An exciting development to the Australian standard for child restraints is the inclusion of some requirements for variations to child restraint systems for children with disabilities and medical conditions. In addition a new standard is considering requirements for harnesses/vests.

  • Australian/New Zealand Standard 1754 Child restraint systems for use in motor vehicles (AS/NZS 1754)
  • Australian Standard 8005 Accessories for child restraints for use in motor vehicles
  • New: Australian Standard 5384 Accessories for seat belts for use in motor vehicles which is considering harnesses and vests.
  • Australian/New Zealand Standard Restraint of children with disabilities, or medical conditions, in motor vehicles (AS/NZS 4370)
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Overseas standards and regulations

There are four key overseas standards/regulations which all special purpose car seats, and some harnesses/vests comply with.

  • United Nations Economic Commission for Europe Regulation No 44 Uniform provisions concerning the approval of restraining devices for child occupants of power- driven vehicles (ECE r44)
  • United Nations Economic Commission for Europe Regulation No 129 Uniform provisions concerning the approval of enhanced Child Restraint Systems used on board of motor vehicles (ECE r129)
  • United States Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 213 Child restraint systems (FMVSS 213)
  • Canadian Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 213 Child restraint systems (CMVSS 213)
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Key differences

There are many differences in the requirements of each standard and regulation. This impacts on how they are installed and used in motor vehicles.

Key differences include:

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European regulations

​​The ECE r44 was first adopted in the 1990s, with the new ECE r129 (also known as “i-Size”) introduced in July 2013. ECE r129 introduces additional safety benefits and will eventually replace ECE r44. At the moment both regulations are able to be used.

The Australian Safety Assessment Program is currently sled-crash testing and reviewing a special purpose car seat that complies with ECE r129. This will be the first restraint available in Australia that complies with this regulation. Over time we expect to see more special purpose car seats available that comply with ECE r129.

Key differences between the two regulations are:

Regulation No. 44

Regulation No. 129

Classification based on child’s weight

Classification based on child’s height (in cm)

Categorised by groups (Group 0+, 1,2,3)

No groups

Child can be forward-facing from 9 kg

Child must rear face to a minimum of 15 months

Can be used for seatbelt and ISOFIX seats

Can only be used for ISOFIX

Rear and front impact testing

Rear, front and side impact testing

P dummy used in crash tests with 4 sensors

Q dummy used in crash tests with 32 sensors

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FAQs

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