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Keep your kids safe in the car

Child Restraints

Car seat installation isn’t a once in and forget.
You want to check regularly that the car seat is in correctly and firmly.
Seats move, get tugged and often transferred from one car to another.


Here are some tips to help.
• Check the anchor straps (the long straps that go from the car seat to the back anchor point in the car) are straight and connected securely.
• Check the lower strap that connects to the seatbelt is clicked into the seatbelt and free from twists.
• Do these checks with the child in the restraint (the child’s weight will make a difference)
• When the child is in the car seat, you want to ensure the straps are firm and straight when they are clicked into the three-point seatbelt for young kids or the single strap in older children.


PRO Tips for Casual Carers
If you are a casual carer, place a teddy or little toy in the front seat before you pick up the child. You can use it as a visual reminder to check the seatbelts in the child restraint.
Film a quick video on your phone that you can share with all casual carers on how to check the straps are tight enough/ without twists.
The centre position in the rear car seat is the safest spot for a child restraint as it protects your child in the event of a side impact collision.
Don’t forget to vacuum the car seat and wipe down the seatbelts. You will be surprised how dirty they get. You might even find the odd sultana!


Child Seat Safety
Choosing the correct child restraint for your children is one of the most important safety purchases you will make. We have collated some important tips and information to make navigating this topic simpler. For further details and information please see our further reading resources listed below.


Important Tips
• Only purchase/use an Australian approved child restraint. It must display the sticker with the AS/NZS 1754 Standard.
• It is unsafe to use a child restraint model that is over 10 years old.
• Ensure you have the correct restraint for the age/size of your child.


Choosing the correct child restraint
Children need to be fastened using the correct car restraint for their age and height. To help review the different brands and their safety ratings, Transport NSW recommends this website:
https://www.childcarseats.com.au/

National Child Restraint Laws
Babies under 6 months
Must use an approved rearward-facing restraint.
Children 6 months to 4 years
Must use either an approved rearward or forward-facing restraint.
Children 4 years +
Must use either an approved forward-facing restraint or booster seat.
Children aged from four years old but under seven years old cannot travel in the front seat of a vehicle with two or more rows, unless all other back seats are occupied by children younger than seven years in an approved child restraint or 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.
Children over 145cm may use an adult seatbelt.
Children aged from seven years old but under 16 years old who are too small to be restrained by a seatbelt properly adjusted and fastened are strongly recommended to use an approved booster seat.


Authorised Restraint Fitting Station
To have your child restraint installed by an authorised fitter is highly recommended. An authorised fitter can:
• Inspect and adjust child car seats to make sure they are installed correctly.
• Fit child car seats that require vehicle modifications.
• Install more anchorage points.
• Retrofit lap and lap-sash seatbelt.
• Show you the correct way to use your child car seat so that you can be confident your child is safe.


How much does this cost?
Most councils will run free fitting station days periodically. Many baby product stores will run fitting stations with approx. costs ranging from:
• Inspect and adjust child restraint, $20-$30
• Install or fit a child restraint, $35-$75

To find an authorised Fitting Station
NSW: https://roadsafety.transport.nsw.gov.au/cgi-bin/index.cgi?action=authrestraintfitting.form
VIC: https://www.racv.com.au/on-the-road/driving-maintenance/racv-car-servicing-repairs.html
WA: https://www.roadwise.asn.au/childrestraints/
https://www.childcarseats.com.au/


Further reading
https://www.racv.com.au/on-the-road/driving-maintenance/road-safety/child-safety/child-restraints.html
https://roadsafety.transport.nsw.gov.au/stayingsafe/children/childcarseats/index.html