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Road safety partners welcome updated child restraint standard

23 SEPTEMBER, 2014

Child seat

RACV, together with VicRoads, TAC, Kidsafe Victoria, Early Learning Association Australia and The Royal Children's Hospital Safety Centre have welcomed the Federal Government's update to the current mandatory Australian Standard for child restraints.

The regulatory change provides an option for restraint manufacturers to produce ISOFIX compatible child restraints. ISOFIX is an alternative method for attaching a child restraint to a vehicle, independent of the vehicle seatbelt.

ISOFIX compatible child restraints in accordance with AS/NZS 1754:2013 will now be another option for how child restraints can be fitted to a vehicle and are NOT being provided because of any concerns with the safety of the current range of child restraints.

There is strong evidence that Australian child restraints that use the vehicle seatbelt and top tether strap provide excellent protection to children, even in very high severity crashes.

Child restraints that use the vehicle seatbelt and top tether strap will continue to be available. Under the regulation child restraints that comply with the 2013, 2010 and 2004 versions of AS/NZS 1754 can be legally supplied.

It is illegal to supply child restraints complying with the 2000 or earlier versions of the standard.

RACV Manager Road User Behaviour, Melinda Spiteri, is reminding  parents that it is critical that child restraints are used correctly, regardless of whether it is an ISOFIX compatible child restraint or not.

"Australian ISOFIX compatible child restraints are now another option to choose from. There is still potential for incorrect use of ISOFIX compatible child restraints, so it is important to take care when fitting and using child restraints, no matter the type. This could be when installing the restraint or when buckling children into their car seat.

"It is recommended that you have your child restraint professionally fitted. RACV offers a child restraint fitting service throughout Victoria," Ms Spiteri said.

Vicroads Director Vehicle and Road User Policy, James Holgate said "ISOFIX compatible child restraints are expected to be available for purchase in the Australian market soon."

"Research shows that child car seats are effective in protecting children in a crash or heavy braking, and their effectiveness is compromised if not fitted correctly."

"However, it is important to remember that it is still illegal to use overseas child restraints in Australia. "

TAC Road Safety Manager Elizabeth Waller said "the Child Restraint Evaluation Program (CREP) independently crash tests child restraints and provides a star rating for crash protection and ease of use to help parents choose the safest child restraint."

"As ISOFIX compatible child restraints become available on the market, they will be included in the testing."

Visit www.childcarseats.com.au to find out more about CREP.


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