A child safety seat or also referred to as a child restraint system, booster seat, baby seat or simply called a child seat is an additional car seat that is specifically designed to protect children during vehicle accidents.
It is the law in some states in Australia for all children up to the age of 7 to be seated in a child restraint or booster seat when travelling in a vehicle, including riding with a ridesharing service such as Uber, Didi and Ola.
Not only that, the restraint is required to be in the right size for the child depending on their age, properly adjusted and secured to the vehicle’s seat. Additionally, the child seat needs to meet the Australian Standard AS / NZS 1754. Any restraint that is available in the country has been tested and has met the standard.
The type of restraint to be used in the car depends on the child’s age and size. Children less than 6 months must use a rear-facing restraint, children aged 6 months to under 4 years must use a rear-facing or forward restraint. The last category is for children aged 4 to under 7 years to use a forward-facing restraint or a booster seat.
In some states in Australia, you are required to use a restraint when you are travelling with children under 7 years old in a rideshare service.
However, rideshare drivers are not required to provide a child seat while they are driving, so drivers may decline your ride request when you travelling with a kid to comply with the state’s regulation.
Child Car Seat Regulations in Rideshare Service (incl. Uber, Didi, Ola, etc.) in Australia
Every state has its own regulations relating to the use of child restraints in ride-booking service and hire vehicles.
For example, New South Wales categorizes rideshare vehicles just like any other private car that requires child car seats to be installed. The following are some of the regulations in several major states around Australia.
- New South Wales
In NSW including Sydney and Newcastle, rideshare driver isn’t permitted to bring passengers who are travelling with children under 1 year old, unless they are secured in an approved child safety seat.
If you still want to take a ride with a rideshare service, you have to bring rearward facing restraint for children under 6 months old, rearward/forward-facing with an inbuilt harness for children aged 6 months to 4 years old. Children aged 4 to 7 years should be secured in forward-facing restraint or a booster seat.
Just like any other private car, in Victoria including Melbourne and Geelong, ride-booking services are not permitted to take riders who travel with children under 7 years old without a child restraint. The road rules about the right type of restraints that a child should use are similar to the regulations in NSW.
In QLD cities including Brisbane and Gold Coast, there are exemptions from complying with standard child restraint regulations. A child car seat isn’t needed on personalised transport services such as taxi, limousine and ride-booking services like Uber and Didi.
- Western Australia
In Perth and several other cities in WA, rideshare drivers are permitted to travel with children aged between 1 and 7 years without the need to be secured in a child car seat. For a child aged under 12 months, the baby can be held on the lap of an adult aged 16 years or over. This rule also applies if you take a ride with a taxi.
A rideshare driver cancels my ride request because of these regulations
In some states, ride-booking services are not permitted to carry passengers travelling with children under 7 years old without child seats. When the driver refuses to transport you, he/she may not have a restraint.
If possible it’s a good idea that you bring your own child car seat with you. But if that is not possible, you can still travel with your child using taxis or buses that have more than 12 seating positions.
In NSW and Victoria, you can still travel with children aged more than 1 year in a taxi. However, an appropriate child restraint is still required to be used in NSW taxis when your child is less than 1 year old. Whereas in Victoria, under 12 months taxi passengers only need to travel in the back seat.