New Child Restraint Evaluation Program (CREP) ratings show that of 17 tested child restraints only one model achieved a five-star protection rating.
Only one of the tested restraints - the ‘Babylove Ezy Boost’ booster seat - achieved five stars for safety while three restraints only managed one star.
CREP awards each child restraint and booster seat a star rating for protection and ease of use, with five stars being the highest rating possible for each category.
The program, supported by a group of government agencies and motoring organisations, including RACV, VicRoads and the Transport Accident Commission (TAC), helps parents to choose the safest restraint for their child.
With the latest round of testing, the program has now evaluated 95 seats available on the Australian market that meet a variety of needs.
RACV Manager Road User Behaviour, Melinda Congiu said all of the restraints tested met the Australian Standard however the evaluation program found some restraints performed better than others in simulated crash tests.
“RACV urges all parents and carers to select a child restraint which offers the greatest protection and ease of use,” Ms Congiu said.
“For the first time, the CREP website allows parents to select two or more child restraints and easily compare them, making it easier for buyers to compare protection scores, ease-of-use scores and dimensions.”
VicRoads Director Vehicle and Road Use Policy, James Holgate, warned parents and carers that they were legally obliged to ensure all passengers were correctly restrained when travelling in a vehicle.
“All people travelling in a motor vehicle must be in a restraint that is properly fastened and adjusted whether it is a child restraint, booster seat or adult seatbelt.”
“It is also important that children stay in their restraint until they have outgrown it. This year, CREP tested its first Type-F restraint – a booster seat for children up to 10 years, providing parents with more information about suitable restraint options on the market,” Mr Holgate said.
TAC Road Safety Manager Samantha Cockfield said ensuring restraints were correctly fitted and selecting models that offered the greatest protection could save young lives.
“Research 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 restrained correctly,” Ms Cockfield said.
“Over the five years to December 31 2012, 311 child passengers have been seriously injured and 23 killed on Victorian roads.”
To ensure that your child is safe, check that the restraint is the right size for your child, that your child is securely placed in the restraint and that the restraint is correctly fitted to the vehicle.
Parents and carers can compare different models at www.crep.com.au