In February 2017, new laws were brought in to force requiring children weighing less than 22kg or with a height of less than 125cm must have a proper car seat, not a backless or a booster type of seat. The new law has created a great deal of confusion with many parents still unsure what is and isn’t allowed.

The use of car seats can often be an issue between separated parents when they make arrangements for their children. The issue usually arises because one of the parents retains the car and the car seat.

So the newly separated dad (or mum) has to shop for a new car seat. Will it be the right one? What will the other parent say?

Could a parent not having the right car seat be a justifiable reason to stop contact taking place?

The primary consideration of the Court is the child’s safety and welfare. If a child is placed at risk of harm then contact should be restricted. This does not necessarily mean that contact cannot take place, more so that the car cannot be used to transport the child.

Parents thinking of using this as an excuse to stop contact all together should consider their options carefully as stopping contact may in fact cause a child more harm than good.

Parents purchasing car seats should look in the first instance to advice from the store from where the seat is to be purchased to ensure that this is suitable for their child.