Centre for Road Safety

Precious cargo

Children in cars should always be safely buckled-up in child car seats that are correct for each child’s age and size. We recommend that all child car seats are properly fitted and checked by an Authorised Restraint Fitter

Don't leave children in cars

Children should never be left alone in a car, even for short periods. They are in danger of:

  • Heat stress and dehydration – parked cars can heat up quickly, even with windows wound down slightly
  • Burns from hot seatbelt buckles and vinyl fittings
  • Playing with car controls – such as hand brakes, gear levers, cigarette lighters, power windows and the ignition
  • Car thieves

It is illegal to leave a child unattended in a car where they might be in distress or their health is in danger. Sometimes children won’t want to buckle up. They may not understand the safety reasons, or they may be restless or just want to do it their way. In these situations, it is important to have family rules about safe driving, to discuss them with the children and then stick to them – every time you are in the car.

Messages for children

“When everyone is buckled up, we can go.”
“If anyone isn’t properly buckled up, we stop.”
“Whether you are awake or asleep, you stay buckled up until we get there.”
“I will help you unbuckle your seat belt.”
“I will help you out through the Safety Door of the car.”

When buckling children in or driving them around, talk to them about:

  • Child car seats and how seat belts keep us safe
  • Why children can never stay in the car alone
  • The Safety Door (rear door closest to the kerb, footpath or gutter and away from the road) and why it is the safest door to get in and out of the car