More stars align for child seat safety
Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight Melinda Pavey today released new child car seat ratings that shows not all child car seats are created equal when it comes to protecting our children in a crash.
While all the 12 seats tested met the minimum Australian safety standard criteria, some performed a lot better than others in tests carried out under the Child Restraint Evaluation Program (CREP).
The tests put the seats through their paces to determine how they performed in crash tests and how easy they were for parents and carers to install.
Twelve child restraints were tested for safety, with four models achieving the maximum five stars protection rating, six received four stars and two models received only one star.
Only two models achieved a four stars ease-of-use rating while the remaining seats received three and two star ratings.
Mrs Pavey said the new ratings provide parents and carers, who might be confused about which seat to choose, the best possible information.
“Every parent wants the best for their kids and choosing the safest car seat is no different,” she said.
“There are many car seats on the market and these ratings help remove a lot of the confusion parents face when buying a new seat.
Centre for Road Safety Executive Director Bernard Carlon said the ratings were an important resource for parents and carers when choosing the safest car seat. But choosing the safest seat was only half the battle – fitting them correctly is also vitally important.
“It doesn’t matter how good the car seat is, if you don’t fit it properly you are putting your child at risk,” Mr Carlon said.
“About two thirds of child car seats are not being used correctly, increasing the risk for young passengers who aren’t restrained properly.”
NRMA Road Safety Expert Dimitra Vlahomitros said as well as providing clarity and guidance to parents and carers who might be confused about which seat to choose, the new ratings also improve the quality of seats for sale by putting pressure on manufacturers.
“These ratings put car seat makers on notice and force them to lift their game to produce a safer product rather than just doing the bare minimum to meet the Australian standard,” Ms Vlahomitros said.
CREP is a partnership between Transport for NSW, The NRMA, Royal Automobile Club of Victoria, Transport Accident Commission, VicRoads and Kidsafe Australia.
Parents and carers can find the ratings for the new seats at www.childcarseats.com.au, where they can compare different models, and learn more about using seats correctly and the legal requirements for child car seats.
The website also allows parents and carers to find authorised restraint fitting stations across NSW, and the new Restraint Fitters Manual, which has just been developed to assist restraint fitters in the correct installation and use of child car seats.