On the road to safer travel
We’re so used to the convenience and freedom that our cars provide we seldom stop to consider the dangers they can present. Tragically, transport accidents are one of the leading causes of injury and fatalities for young children.
You can’t guarantee your child will always be safe, but you can provide the maximum amount of protection and significantly reduce the risks through using a correctly fitted child restraint and booster seat whenever your child – or children – are in the car.
No journey is too short for proper safety!
A new arrival to the Australian market is the Recaro range of children’s car seats and restraints. The uncompromising precision of the German design and engineering offers as much peace of mind to parents as the products offer protection to children. The unique styling of the Recaro seats reflects the brand’s history in providing safe seating in both the motorsport and aircraft industries. The same technology and design that provides safety at high speed and high altitude is ideally suited to the family car.
The manufacture of all child restraints is thoroughly controlled by the stringent Australian Standards requirements. No matter how good your choice of car seat though (and there are a number of excellent brands available depending on your need and budget), according to Neuroscience Research Australia incorrect use of child restraints triples the risk of injury in a crash.
We can’t provide a firm figure, but anecdotal evidence from the industry and our good friends at the Australian Child restraint Resource Initiative (ACRI) suggests that over 70% of child restraints are incorrectly fitted or used in Australia.
Rob Newman, Director of ACRI, shares the organisation’s insights on just why there is a high misuse of children’s car seats and restraints in Australia, as well as tips for parents to ensure they select and use the car seat or restraint best suited to their car and child’s needs.
ACRI have identified the following reasons for why the misuse rate is so high:
- There’s a lot of confusing often contradictory information out there
- Complacency surrounding road travel and safety in general, is commonplace
- People buy products that they don’t understand – including how it actually provides a safer environment, or the need for it to be adjusted easily and regularly
- A chosen product often doesn’t integrate well into their vehicle in a reliable usable manner
- Busy lives, puts time pressure on families and vigilance suffers
- Lack of daily monitoring of the ongoing suitability, use and attachment factors
The shortcomings that potentially add to the risk of danger on the roads have lead the team from ACRI to promote the message that passenger safety can be easy when we focus on what’s important:
- Use a restraint product suitable to the child’s size
- Ensure that the product is reconfigured, ‘grown’ as the child does
- Continue to use the product up until the maximum use guidelines of the restraint
- Regularly check that all attachment straps and adjustments have no looseness.
No matter what brand of car seat or restraint you choose, ACRI recommend you ask the following questions and consider these factors:
- Select a restraint suitable to the child’s size, which integrates well into your vehicle and has easy to operate functions
- The vehicle involved is an equal partner in what will work well, so always consider it and if possible; trial the choice spatial and functionally in vehicle before you purchase
- A child passenger’s safety environment constantly changes. Children grow and securement aspects constantly change, so a child’s safety does not rest on who fitted the restraint
- Everyday monitoring is crucial
It’s a big job keeping your child protected, but making informed decisions and practicing the best levels of safety is a crucially important place to start.
Note: The views and advice expressed on this blog post are those of the author and are not representative of the Pregnancy Babies & Children's Expo.