Child restraints (car seats)

Child restraints (car seats)

To be safe when travelling in vehicles, all children need to use an approved child restraint (this includes a booster seat) until they are 148cm tall (between nine and 12 years of age).

Key points to remember

  • New Zealand law says all children in vehicles must be correctly secured in an approved child restraint until their 7th birthday
  • to be safest, children need to be in booster seats until they are 148cm tall - for the majority of children this is somewhere between 9 and 12 years of age

How can I make sure I use my child restraint correctly?

Child restraint technicians have been especially trained and can give you advice on the type of child restraint you may need. They also have the practical knowledge to correctly fit your child restraint into a vehicle and show you how to do it too. See the New Zealand Transport Agency website to find a child restraint technician in your area.

There are a number of different child restraints available in New Zealand and all vary in design.

The following information is available to help you use child restraints correctly so that you will greatly reduce the chance of your child being injured or killed in a car accident.

See the New Zealand Transport Agency website for:

Car seat rental schemes

Plunket no longer offers a car seat hire service, but there are a number of community groups, health providers and retailers who do. You can also ask for information about rental schemes at car seat retailers and from a child restraint technician. See the New Zealand Transport Agency website to find a child restraint technician in your area. Many Māori and Pacific health organisations also run car seat rental programmes.

Car safety for school age children

Adult seat belts don't fit kids. There is a large and consistent body of evidence confirming that children have fewer serious injuries and deaths in car crashes if they use a booster seat rather than just an adult seat belt. To be safe, children need to be in booster seats until they are 148cm tall. For the majority of children this is somewhere between 9 and 12 years of age.

See the page on this website about car safety for school age children.

New Zealand law says you must:

  • correctly secure your child in an approved child restraint until their 7th birthday
  • correctly secure your child in an approved child restraint if one is available in the vehicle (and if not, in any child restraint or safety belt that is available) from their 7th birthday until their 8th birthday 

Children in the United Kingdom must be in the correct child restraints until they reach 12 years of age or 135cm in height. See the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) in the UK for a very good summary and recommendations for best practice on their parents' website.

This page last reviewed 29 April 2016.
Email us your feedback


On this page