Helping little passengers stay safe

Phil Pallister, the Authorised Restraint Fitter, showing Denise how to adjust and check the straps for fit on Halle's car seat.

Phil Pallister, the Authorised Restraint Fitter, showing Denise how to adjust and check the straps for fit on Halle's car seat.

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Did you know two in three child car seats are not being used correctly, increasing the risk of serious injury?

Children who are restrained incorrectly are up to seven times more likely to be seriously injured in a crash

Research by the Child Restraint Evaluation Program (CREP) shows that children who are restrained incorrectly are up to seven times more likely to be seriously injured in a crash than children who are fitted in the correct child car seat for their age and size.

Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully when fitting a child car seat and placing your child in it.

If the instructions have been lost, contact the manufacturer, search for the instructions online, or seek advice from specialist Authorised Restraint Fitters.

Adjust the inbuilt harness for a comfortable but firm fit, with no slack. The harness straps should be straight and in flat contact with the child.

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Double check the harness straps are not twisted or caught. In booster seats, make sure the sash belt crosses your child’s shoulder and is in contact with the chest. Make sure the lap belt sits low across the pelvis (hip bones).

The national child restraint laws introduced in 2010 provide that all child passengers must be safely fastened in the correct child car seat for their age and size:

  • Children up to the age of six months must be secured in an approved rearward facing restraint
  • From six months but under four years, in either a rear or forward facing approved child restraint with an inbuilt harness
  • Children from four years but under seven years must be secured in a forward facing approved child restraint with an inbuilt harness or an approved booster seat
  • Children aged from seven years but under 16 years who are too small to be restrained by a seatbelt properly adjusted and fastened are strongly recommended to use an approved booster seat
  • Children in booster seats must be restrained by a suitable lap and sash type approved seatbelt that is properly adjusted and fastened, or by a suitable approved child safety harness that is properly adjusted and fastened.

Go to www.childcarseats.com.au to find out more about child car seats.

It provides advice for choosing the safest option for your child by comparing the price, safety ratings and ease of use of a range of child car seats tested by CREP and links to the location of Authorised Restraint Fitters in your area.

Remember your little passengers are counting on you to keep them safe by ensuring they have the right child car seat, being used correctly.