The latest ratings of 15 new car seats by the Child Restraint Education Program have found only two restraints that meet the highest safety rating. It is the first rating against new, tougher standards.
Using a similar 5 star system to the assessment of new cars, only two car child restraints were awarded five stars or an ‘excellent’ rating. Eight received four stars, four got three stars and one was given only one star – the minimum to meet Australian and New Zealand standards.
The tests included backward-facing restraints, forward-facing restraints and booster seats. The new study includes scores for knee forward movement in frontal impact and head protection in side impact.
The ratings are designed to help parents make an informed decision before making a purchase.
The Child Restraint Education Program is jointly funded by the motoring associations and transport accident organisations of NSW, Victoria and South Australia.
A study funded by NSW Centre for Road Safety shows that children who are restrained incorrectly are up to seven times more likely to be seriously injured in a crash.
It is estimated that every year in Australia, 28 children aged 10 years and under are killed and 2,773 are injured in car crashes. The motoring associations believe some of fatalities and injuries could be prevented or reduced if all children occupy the right restraint for their size and age, and if the restraint is installed and used correctly.
The Child Restraint Education Program recommends that parents or carers should choose a restraint that provides the highest available level of protection and make sure it is used correctly every time.