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Car seat regulations in NZ?

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
My sister and her family are moving to NZ next spring to live with the in-laws (lucky them!) for about a year. They will have two kids with them, a baby and a toddler. They'd like to bring their own seats to avoid having to purchase something while there. Does anyone know what the car seat regulations are in NZ? i.e. can one use Canadian seats legally, is there a time-limit before you're considered 'residents' vs 'visitors' in the country and therefore the rules change (they do in Canada, that's why I ask). Do the cars typically have LATCH/UAS/Isofix (or whatever it's called there) or are most seats installed with belts? What are the rear-facing / forward facing laws? Any advice would be appreciated.
post #2 of 6
There are no New Zealand seats, all are imported. New Zealand does accept other countries' certifications. This site has info:


European and Australian seats seem to be automatically certified, or can be used without certification, the American need NZ certification. But I would actually be surpeised if anybody except LTSA knew this, including the police. I'm quite certain "Illegally imported carseats" really isn't anything the New Zealand Police has any interest in. Not to say you should do anything illegal, at all!

We have a European-certified (Scandinavian) seat, bought here in NZ, but only certified in Europe. For any questions, please contact Land Transport Safety Authority (LTSA), they should be able to answer any questions. If the Canadian seats aren't ok (would surprise me, but hey, what do you know?), I'd get a good Scandinavian seat.

If you can't find an answer, pm me, and I'll find out.

LATCH is probably not common here, most cars sold in NZ are second hand cars imported from Japan (this is where Japan sends there used cars). Almost all cars need the seats to be installed with belts (and whatever the seat comes with, our car seat latches on around the seat in front to sit sturdy, which works on all cars), and most can have the tether straps that go over the child and seat when rear-facing.

The law says: Children under 5 years old

* Must be properly restrained by an approved child restraint.
* They must not travel in the car if you can't put them in an approved child restraint.
* Must be properly restrained in an approved child restraint.

Plunket (the organisation that does the Well Baby visits, check ups etc, mighty important here!) recommends rear facing to age 1 and 20 pounds ( think - we don't do pounds here). And a baby capsule has to be rear-facing, of course. Otherwise, you are free to put your 9 month old in a back-less booster, provided his weight is high enough for it.
post #3 of 6
I'm not in NZ, but in Australia, and I was just going to add that they might want to check with their insurance company as well. I know when we moved over here, we had to buy two new Aussie seats as not only are foreign (ie. non-Australian certified) ones illegal to use (even if they are arguably of better quality and safer), but, from our understanding, many insurance companies will not compensate you if you get into an accident and have injuries to your child who was in a foreign car seat.

And Aussie seats...well, there are no rear facing seats for older toddlers or preschoolers here. They really like to have them turned around as early as possible. One of my friends in Canada is a car seat safety technician and she knows of a number of options for parents who'd like to keep their LO rear facing as long as possible. There really are no legal options here, that I found. But then this is a country where until recently, kids under age 4 could rise in the front seat, obviously without any restraints. There's new child restraint legislation for my state in October, but I still see so many little kids at my DD's school (4 or 5 years old) sitting in the front seat on the way to school, with the seatbelt hanging above their heads.
post #4 of 6
Well ,our carseat is imported (but not by us, by a company), and is legal, as all European certified carseats are.

Most carseats in use here are Australian (actually, most toddler carseats are Britax Safe & Sound, which rearfaces to 12 or 13 kg, but most people here believe you have to ff at 1 y, and nobody seems to worry about the weight limits ). It isn't a great seat, but we've been ok with DD (who is close to 12 kg) going in other people's Safe & Sound, provided they turn them around to rearfacing.
post #5 of 6
Yeah, it seems like you have more leeway in NZ with foreign seats than we do here. I wish I could have kept using my Canadian ones, legally, that is.

There's so many North American/European car seats that can rear face up to 35lbs/40lbs (about 18kg). But all of the Aussie Britax convertible ones I looked at were only rear facing until 12kg. I know quite a few expats here who have elected to keep using their European ones illegally instead of buying Aussie ones.
post #6 of 6
Yep, those are the ones you see in the shops here.

We found our Brio Zento online, from Baby On the Move, a company that rents and sells baby products in New Zealand.

The local dealer (franchise owner?) we bought it from, told us her husband works for LTSA, so they had chosen to get the Brio Zento for their kids, as he knew how important rear-facing is. And that is the reason she sells them!
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