Follow your Child Restraint’s Instruction Manual
Checking your child is of an age when they are required to use a child restraint in New Zealand is the first step towards complying with our law. Once you have checked this, then to continue to comply with the law you are required to follow the instruction manual of the particular car seat you are using.
The Land Transport (Road User) Rule 2004 is the legislation that includes information about the use of child restraints. In all clauses relating to the subject, it is stated that the driver is responsible for correctly restraining their passengers. So, regardless of whether you are transporting your own children, or others, if you are driving then you will be responsible for ensuring all children in the vehicle are properly restrained.
In some circumstances, a driver may be exempt from having a child travel in a child restraint. For example, when using public transport in New Zealand, it is not necessary for a child to be restrained. This also applies when using taxis, Uber and any other passenger service vehicle.
You can read the full list of exemptions to NZ car seat law here.
If your plans include travelling in motorhomes or minivans, you will need to consider the position of any restraints you are using in the vehicle. Child restraints can only be used on vehicle seats which face the front of the vehicle. It is illegal to install a child restraint on any vehicle seat which faces sideways or rearwards.
Car Seats Approved for use in New Zealand
All child restraints sold or used in New Zealand must have been manufactured to a standard that complies with our minimum safety standards for car seats. A car seat’s safety standard is displayed by a sticker or label on the shell or fabric of the restraint. If you are travelling to New Zealand and hope to use your child restraint here, you will need to find the safety standard or compliance sticker to ensure it is accepted here by law.
Child restraints manufactured to two of these safety standards can be purchased elsewhere and used here in New Zealand.