Choosing the Right Baby Seat
Sadly, every year many children are killed or injured in car crashes throughout Australia. Motor vehicles accidents are the cause of the highest number of deaths in children aged between 0 and 14 years and are the second highest cause of hospital admissions. Some of these deaths and injuries could be prevented or reduced if the right child car seat is used correctly.
All child car seats sold and used in Australia must comply with the Australian Standard AS/NZS 1754 Child Restraint Systems for Use in Motor Vehicles. The standard is one of the strictest in the world. Child car seats marked with this standard offer better protection for your child in a crash.
Child car seats are designed to match a child’s age and size. When you buy a child car seat you need to consider the age and size of your child and if the car seat will fit in your vehicle, as well as the Australian Standard star rating. Seats with higher star ratings are more highly recommended as the more stars seats have, the more they exceed the minimum safety requirements.
A child seat that is easier to use is more likely to be used correctly. Child car seats that are correctly fitted offer better protection. In booster seats, look for ones with sash guides or locators that will position the sash belt comfortably at your child’s shoulder level. You should also look for features to prevent ‘submarining’, which occurs when a child slips under the lap section of the seatbelt during a crash, with the potential for serious or fatal injury.
Choosing the right baby seat can be very confusing and difficult. Thankfully the people at the Child Restraint Evaluation Program (CREP) have put together the Child Car Seats website: www.childcarseats.com.au
This website provides information to help choose and use safe child car seats and to put pressure on car seat manufacturers to only market seats that perform well beyond the requirements of the Australian Standard.