New child restraint tests show that many offer limited protection

Posted in Safety.

Kidsafe NSW and the NRMA have joined forces to test a bunch of popular child car restraints and some of their findings are pretty worrying.

“Not one scored five stars”

In a statement released today, the NRMA revealed that their latest round of Child Restraint Evaluation Program (CREP) – aimed at keeping Australian littlies safe – gathered information that every parent should be aware of.

“Nine child restraints … were scored on safety and ease of use,” the NRMA tells us. “Not one scored five stars; one seat scored less than two stars for protection; and four booster seats scored more than four stars for protection.”

“All restraints tested comply with the Australian Standard, however there is a vast difference in the quality of protection they offer.”

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Parents, we have a problem

This isn’t the first time that the safety of products for babies and children have been brought into question. Late last month consumer advocate CHOICE released their findings on pram and stroller safety explaining that their “latest prams and strollers test found that 18 models failed our safety tests.” 

This came hot on the heels of CHOICE’s reveal that pretty much every portable cot sold in Australia posted dangers to babies and confirmed that there needs to be some serious reform when it comes to kids products and safety.

Child Car Restraint Ratings

Do your research

The latest NRMA/KidSafe findings (summarised above) again highlight how important it is to do your research – and make the most of the brilliant research being carried out by safety experts – before purchasing a restraint for your car.

“A car seat is one of the first and last pieces of baby equipment a parent will purchase that will be used every day for several years, and can be one of the most important,” NRMA’s Road Safety Expert, Dimitra Vlahomitros says.

In this case the adage ‘you get what you pay for’ is simply untrue.

“The top scoring booster seat in the most recent testing retails for $99,” the NRMA says. “Many other boosters previously tested with lower safety ratings can retail for upwards of $500.”

Mum shopping with baby near car

Don’t skip ahead

Kidsafe NSW and the NRMA also took the opportunity to remind parents that it’s important not to move a child into – or out of – a booster seat before they’re ready.

“One of the most common grey areas is when to graduate a child into a booster seat or into an adult seat,” Christine Erskine, Kidsafe NSW Executive Officer said. 

“When kids see their peers sitting in adult seats they start pestering their parents to let them do the same, but we ask parents and carers to be strong and explain to children how important it is to stay safe, and not give into that pester power.”

Parents and carers can go to to compare child restraints and find out which are the safest – and most appropriate for their child’s age and size.


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