Parents Confused About Child Restraint Laws

With many parents confused about child restraint laws*, Kidsafe and NRMA Insurance are urging parents to ensure their children are travelling safely in cars.

Aug 27, 2013, 06:55 ET from NRMA Insurance

SYDNEY, Aug. 27, 2013 PRNewswire/ -- A new NRMA Insurance survey** showed some NSW parents may not be using child restraints correctly or checking them often enough. Of most concern were statistics that showed:

  • Less than half of NSW parents are confident of their knowledge of child restraint laws;
  • One in ten parents never check or adjust the harness around their child before every car trip;
  • 40 per cent of parents have not had their child restraint professionally installed or checked;

Kidsafe NSW CEO Christine Erskine said seating children safely was key in ensuring their safety.

"Motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of child deaths in New South Wales. We need to make sure child restraints are used correctly, or the safety of the child is compromised. Parents want to do the right thing and keep their children safe, but it can be challenging for them to install the restraints themselves, or remember all the new child restraint laws.

"In my experience parents who come to Kidsafe restraint checking days often feel a sense that something may not be right with their child restraint, or with how they have fitted it. I urge families to have their child restraints fitted or checked by an authorised restraint fitter."

NRMA Insurance spokesperson, Mariana Cidade, said it was alarming that parents are not checking restraints every time they drive their children.

"Less than half of parents check the seatbelt is still correctly connected through or around the restraint before each car trip. Simple mistakes such as having a twisted or loose harness may lead to a child being injured. It is important that parents check their children are properly secured in a restraint appropriate for their size, each and every time they drive," said Ms Cidade.

NRMA Insurance and Kidsafe NSW recommend the following tips for seating children safely:

  • Always choose, correctly fit and use the restraint most appropriate for your child's age and size.
  • Use a restraint which has been approved to the Australian Standards.
  • Place your child in an appropriate child restraint for every single journey.
  • Second hand restraints should be used with caution. You should be aware of the history of the restraint and be sure that the restraint has all the appropriate fittings. Any restraint that is more than 10 years old should not be used.
  • Children are safest when travelling in the rear of the vehicle.
  • Do not move your child to the next child restraint until they have outgrown it.

Information about child restraints and authorised fitters are available through the Kidsafe website 

Under current regulations*:

  • Children younger than six months must be secured in a rearward facing restraint.
  • Children aged six months to under four years must be secured in either a rear or forward facing restraint.
  • Children aged four years to under seven years must be secured in forward facing child restraint or booster seat.
  • Children younger than four years cannot travel in the front seat of a vehicle with two or more rows.
  • Children aged four years to under seven years 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 a child restraint or booster seat.

* * Based on a survey of over 503 NSW parents and carers by Pure Profile Research in May 2013