Child safety on WA roads

Keeping your kids safe on WA roads. Information about child car restraints, driveway safety, kids on bikes and more.

Between 2016 and 2020, 647 children (aged between 0 and 16 years) were killed or seriously injured on WA roads, with 26% of those children being pedestrians.

Children are among our most at risk road users because they:

  • cannot see over or around parked cars, nor are they easily seen by drivers.
  • have difficulty telling which direction sounds are coming from.
  • have trouble judging the speed and distance of vehicles.
  • may behave differently when they are out with other children.
  • require specially fitted restraints when travelling in a vehicle.
If you don't know, don't go: Driveway runovers are preventable

    Child car restraints

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    In WA, children aged 0 to 7 years must be appropriately restrained in a child car restraint when travelling as a passenger in a vehicle.

    Restraints should be appropriate for your child's age and height, not old or worn, nor over 10 years old or previously been in a crash and need to be correctly installed in cars.

    For more information about child car restraints, please visit the WALGA Roadwise website, or, if you have specific queries, call the WALGA Roadwise Child Car Restraint Query line on 1300 780 713.


    Minimum age requirements

    Birth to six months

    Children must be placed in a rearward facing restraint capsule or rearward facing convertible restraint.

    Six months to four years

    Children must be fastened in a rearward facing restraint, or a forward-facing restraint with a five-point internal harness, forward facing convertible restraint with a five-point internal harness, or a combination restraint used with a five-point internal harness.

    Four to seven years

    Children need to use a forward-facing restraint with a five-point internal harness, or booster seat with a lap and sash seat belt or h-harness, or combination restraint used in a booster seat mode.

    Seven years and over

    Children aged seven years and over should remain in a suitable child restraint until they are big enough to meet all parts of the five-step test to use a lap-sash seatbelt in a vehicle.

    • Can the child sit with their back against the vehicle seat back?
    • Do the child‘s knees bend in front of the edge of the seat?
    • Does the sash belt sit across the middle of the shoulder?
    • Is the lap belt sitting low across the hips touching the thighs?
    • Can the child stay seated like this for the whole trip?

    Correctly fitting your child car restraint

    There are several services in Western Australia to assist with correctly fitting your child car restraint.

    You can access a list of Type 1 Child Car Restraint Fitters around the state through their local WALGA RoadWise Committee.

    The Department of Transport has a list of Type 2 Child Restraint Fitting Stations where anchor points can be safely installed and approved in vehicles, which can be found on their seats and seat belts page.

    The age and height of a child should be taken into consideration when choosing the appropriate car restraint for your child. Find the right seat for your child by visiting the Kidsafe website.


    Exemptions

    In Western Australia, child car restraints must comply with the Australian Standard for Child Car Restraints AS/NZS 1754: 2010 and 2013. Parents and carers who cannot comply with AS/NZS 1754 must apply to the Department of Transport for approval to use AS/NZS 4370, which is the standard of restraints for children with a disability.

    Driveway safety

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    Driveway run overs are preventable, but still every week in Australia, one child is run over in the driveway of his or her own home according to figures from Kidsafe WA.

    More than 33% of children aged under 6 are killed ‘off road’ - in yards, car parks and driveways.

    Always supervise your child or children and they are not left alone to play near parked or moving cars. Hold their hands or hold them close to keep them safe. Make access to the driveway from the house difficult for young children.

    For more, see Kidsafe WA Driveway Safety (PDF 295kb).

    On demand transport

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    Drivers of taxis and rideshare services must ensure that children aged between 1 and 7 years are restrained in standard seatbelts that are properly adjusted and securely fastened to the best extent possible given the height and weight of the passenger.

    There is no requirement for children aged between 1 and 7 years to be secured in a child car restraint while travelling in taxis or rideshare vehicles, however the appropriate restraint is the safest option.

    A child aged less than 1 year can be held on the lap of a parent or caregiver aged 16 years or over while travelling in a taxi or rideshare vehicle but cannot share the seatbelt.

    Bus drivers are not required to ensure that passengers aged under 16 years are restrained. Under the Road Traffic Code 2000, a bus is defined as a motor vehicle, built mainly to carry people, which seats 13 adults and over (including the driver).

    Nonetheless, it is recommended that seatbelts are used when available and are properly adjusted and fitted to the best extent possible.

    If the vehicle involved is designed to carry 12 adults or less (including the driver) it is not classed as a bus and the driver is required to ensure that all passengers are appropriately restrained.

    Children on wheels

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    Everyone must wear approved cycling helmets that meet Australian standards and always fit correctly while riding.

    It is legal in Western Australia for people of all ages to ride bicycle, scooters, roller skates and skateboards on the footpath.

    Children under the age of 10 should ride under the supervision of adults and it is important for riders to be aware of vehicles entering and exiting driveways.

    Riders must keep to the left and give way to pedestrians.

    Scooters, rollerbladers, inline-skaters and skateboarders can use roads but only in daylight hours on local roads that do not have white lines or median islands, and which have speed limits of 50 km/h or less. These road users must keep to the left.

    Helmets are not compulsory, but recommended for the safety of roller skaters, skateboarders and scooter riders.

    Road safety for children

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    Road safety apps and school programs for kids.

    The Constable Care Foundation has brought road safety education to regional and remote Western Australia, through the Arility road safety app.

    The app was made possible due to funding from the WA Road Trauma Trust Account, which is administered by the Road Safety Commission.

    The Arility app features six road safety activities allows students to directly see and experience risk as they benefit from learning through an immersive augmented reality environment.

    The School Drug Education & Road Aware Program is managed by the Department of Education’s Road Safety and Drug Education Branch, supported by the Road Safety Commission, works to help children and young people from 0 to 20 years stay safe on the roads.

    • Smart Steps - Smart Steps is an early intervention program that sets the scene for developing positive road safety attitudes and behaviours in young children.
    • Challenges and Choices - Challenges and Choices is a program of multi-media teaching resources for Kindergarten through to Year 10.
    • Keys for Life - Keys for Life prepares Year 10 to 12 students for safer driving. The program is an important part of the road safety strategy as young drivers are over-represented in road crash statistics each year.
    • Whole School Approach - Whole School Approach recognises that all aspects of the school community can impact positively upon students' health, safety and wellbeing.
    • CHAT - The Changing Health Acting Together (CHAT) program offers intensive, step-by-step support to develop a best practice whole-school approach to resilience, drug and road safety education.
    Page reviewed 1 October 2021