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New Zealand Road Code Test

Safety belts & child restraints

Safety belts and child restraints

Safety belts and child restraints protect people by holding them in their seats when there is a crash or when the vehicle stops suddenly. If you don’t wear a safety belt and you’re involved in a crash, you could be thrown out of your vehicle.

Always remember to fasten your safety belt before you drive off.

See About your vehicle for more information about the legal requirements for safety belts in your vehicle.


The driver is responsible for making sure children aged under 15 years wear safety belts or are in approved child restraints.

All passengers 15 years and over are responsible for making sure that they are wearing their own safety belts.

How to wear a safety belt

Most safety belts are retractable. This means they stretch automatically to the correct length when you fasten them and lock only if the vehicle stops suddenly.

If your vehicle has a non-retractable safety belt, you will need to adjust its length before you fasten it. There should be just enough room to slide the palm of your hand between the belt and your chest.

Never put an adult and a child together in the same safety belt.

Special exemptions

You don’t have to wear a safety belt if you:

  • hold a doctor’s certificate that says you don’t have to wear a safety belt for medical reasons
  • are driving and you’re unable to reach the controls (for example, brake, signals, dip switch) with a safety belt on
  • are a taxi driver plying for hire (your passengers, however, must wear safety belts)
  • are a driver or passenger who is getting in and out of the vehicle often to read meters, deliver goods, etc. In these situations you must not travel faster than 50 km/h
  • are reversing and it is difficult to see while wearing a safety belt.

Child restraints

Under fives

Children under five years old must be properly restrained in an approved child restraint.

The only exception to this rule is when the children are travelling in a taxi that doesn’t have an approved child restraint. In this case, the children must sit in the back seat.

Five to seven year olds

Children aged between five and seven years old must use a child restraint if available.

If no child restraint is available, they must use a safety belt.

If no safety belt is available, they must sit in the back seat.

For more information about child restraints, visit the Safe2Go website.



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