Car Seat Safety for Newborns

Your baby needs to be in a properly installed car seat for all car rides to keep them safe.

Under New Zealand law, all children under seven years of age must be in an approved child restraint that is suitable for their age, size, and development. Most people choose to put their baby in an infant restraint, called a baby capsule, but some car seats are able to be used from birth.

There are various retailers nationwide that sell car restraints. Alternatively, you can hire one from retail stores like Baby On The Move and Baby Factory or from selected Well Child Tamariki Ora providers like Plunket.

Here are some important things to remember, to ensure your newborn baby is properly protected when travelling in the car:

  • Make sure the baby capsule or car seat is installed correctly by carefully following the manufacturer’s instructions or having it installed by a car restraint technician. It should fit firmly against the seat and not wobble.
  • Your baby’s car restraint must be rear-facing; it is best to keep children rear-facing for as long as possible, at least until two years of age.
  • The safest place for any child to be is in the back seat.
  • Car seats and capsules are for protecting your baby when travelling in the car only. It is not safe for your baby to sleep in when you are at home or have reached your destination.

Buying secondhand


There are lots of things you can buy secondhand when you have a pēpi but it’s best to buy a car seat brand new or to hire one. If you can’t afford to buy a new car seat, you may be able to apply to Work and Income for a Special Needs Grant to purchase one.


If you have to get a car seat secondhand, you should do extra due diligence. It’s important to know the history of the car seat, that it meets the NZ approved standards, that it hasn’t expired, and that it has been cared for correctly. Visit for advice on purchasing a secondhand child restraint.

If you give birth in the hospital or at a birthing centre, you must have your baby’s car seat ready for when you leave to go home.