A hard hitting report published by Dr Alexia Lennon, demonstrates that the leading cause of death in infants aged 5-9 in Australia results from road trauma. Maintaining properly fitted child seats, therefore, is paramount to your child’s safety. Correctly fitted child restraints have been proven to significantly reduce injury and help to prevent many fatalities.
Laws that came into effect from 1st October 2010 outline specific requirements relating to the child’s age and the type of child restraint they must use.
● Newborns and babies up to 6 months of age must be secured in a rearward facing child restraint. Infant capsules are highly recommended.
● Infants aged 6 months to 4 years can be secured in either a rearward or forward facing child restraint with an in-built harness.
● Children aged 4 years - 7 years are required to be secured in either a forward facing child restraint or booster seat secured by a correctly adjusted and fastened seat belt or child safety harness.
● Those aged 7 years and over can be secured in a booster seat or via the vehicle's adult seat belt. The suggested minimum height for a child to use the vehicle’s adult seat belt, with no restraints, is 145cm.
However, having a child restraint within your vehicle, even if it complies with the above regulations, is not enough to prevent injury. You must ensure it is correctly fitted to maximise your child’s safety whilst out on the road.
Ways you can misuse child restraints:
● Weight - If your child is particularly big or small for their age it is recommended that you see a specialist at Tyres and More to determine the best option to ensure maximum safety.
● Placement in relation to air bags - Reports suggest that children are always safer in the rear of the vehicle whilst using the recommended child restraints. Although many vehicles now come with side airbags, the risk of injury is low if the child has been properly secured. It is highly advised not to place your child in the front seat with a front facing airbag, particularly for those using rear facing child restraints. The positioning of airbags will differ from vehicle to vehicle. See a specialist if you are unsure.
● Security/tightness of harness straps - It is essential that the harness of your child restraint is tight and secure.
● Correct positioning of the seat belt - The seat belt must sit across the child without cutting into their neck or falling below their shoulder.
● Defective or broken child restraint elements - Any broken elements on your child restraint should be inspected/replaced by a specialist immediately.
Tyres and More offer a professional and expert child restraint fitting service, ensuring your child’s car seat is fitted to your vehicle properly. The service extends to include assistance in selecting the appropriate restraint for your child, based not only on their age, but also on individual aspects including your child's size and your vehicle. Call 13 MORE or click here to find your nearest Tyres and More store.