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Updated guidelines for kid’s car seats

Oliver Peterson
Article image for Updated guidelines for kid’s car seats

New guidelines for safely restraining children in cars has been released today by Neuroscience Research Australia (NeuRA) and Kidsafe Australia.

Best Practice Guidelines for the Safe Restraint of Children Travelling in Motor Vehicles aims to keep children up to 16 as safe as possible when travelling in vehicles. This is the first time the guidelines have been updated since 2013 and are based on the best scientific evidence.

Parents and carers will find new advice on how to choose and use child car restraints, when to transition to adult seat belts, and includes recommendations on keeping children safe during in taxis and rideshares.

KidSafe spokesperson Melita Jefferies told Oliver Peterson the new guidelines are about ensuring parents and caregivers are “using the most appropriate restraint for the child’s size.”

“Inappropriate car seats can raise serious injury risk by up to 3.5 times,” said Ms Jefferies.

Despite WA’s laws allowing children to travel in taxis and some rideshares without a child restraint, Ms Jefferies urges people to use car seats and boosters, “where ever possible in those vehicles.”

The new recommendations outlined in the guidelines include:

  • Children should use their child restraint or booster seat when travelling in rideshares (e.g. Uber) and rental cars, as well as taxis.
  • Strengthened advice to use the ‘5 Step Test’ to decide when to transition from a booster seat to adult seat belt.
  • Children should be encouraged to sit in an upright seating posture so their restraint can work optimally.
  • Children aged 4-8 years should use an add-on booster seat in preference to an integrated booster, but children 9 years and older can safely use an integrated booster seat if their car has a side curtain airbag where they are sitting.
  • Parents of low birth weight babies should use an infant car restraint designed for low birth weight babies until they can get good harness fit in a ‘standard’ child car restraint.

To access further information about the new guidelines visit KidSafe.

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Oliver Peterson