Correctly fitted and properly adjusted child restraints provide protection for your children. New child restraint regulations became effective in November 2009 that require children aged up to 7 years to be seated in approved child restraints.
The rear seat is much safer for child restraints than the front seat, with or without an airbag. It is safer not to use child restraints in the front passenger seat.
Choose the right child restraint
Children need different restraints as they grow. The restraint must match the age, size and weight of your child. It must be correctly installed in your car and the straps must be adjusted so that your child is held in snugly.
Installing and using child safety restraints:
- Read and follow all instructions carefully when installing child restraints.
- When installing a child restraint, follow the manufacturer’s instructions exactly or go to a Restraint Fitting Station - their operators have been specially trained to install approved infant and child restraints in a wide variety of vehicles.
- Where possible, install your child restraint in the centre position of your car’s back seat, except in the case of a booster seat with a lap only seat belt.
- Ensure the top strap and the adult seat belt that keeps the child restraint in position are properly adjusted; there shouldn’t be any slack. When tightening the seat belt push the child firmly into the car seat with your body weight, so that the car seat cushions are compressed. This helps to ensure a very tight fit and minimises subsequent movement in a crash.
- Use the minimum number of tether extension straps.
- Ensure the harness shoulder straps are correctly positioned. When using a rearward-facing infant restraint, the shoulder straps should be located at shoulder height or just above the baby’s shoulders
- Shoulder straps in forward-facing restraints can be located up to 25mm below the child’s shoulders
- Adjust the harness firmly. A loose harness won’t perform well in a crash and can lead to other problems, such as the child freeing his or her arms. There should be no twists in the harness. When using a child harness with a lap belt, tighten the belt first, and then adjust the harness
If the inbuilt harness is loose or the restraint is not attached securely to the vehicle, it will not protect your child properly in a crash.
Child Restraint Evaluation Program (CREP)
The latest Child Restraint Evaluation Program (CREP) test results demonstrate that not all child restraints are created equal.
Restraints are tested in three categories; Rearward-facing restraints for babies, Forward-facing restraints for young children and Booster seats for older children. The restraints were rated according to how well they protect your child in a crash and how easy they are to use. View the latest Child Restraint Evaluation Program (CREP) test results here