How to fit child seats
From the first ride home from the hospital through to the day that they have their own driver’s license, parents are always going to have high concerns about their children’s safety on the roads.
For new parents, picking the appropriate child seat is one of the most important parts of preparing for the baby’s arrival. It is imperative that the Australian standards are met with the seat. Using a seat that has been imported into Australia from overseas is illegal.
How can you tell if the seat is legal?
There will be a tag on the seat that will have the code AS 1754. This code represents that the seat is compliant with the Australian Laws in relation to Child Seat Safety. E46 was the code that was used previously to the AS 1754.
The law is designed to minimize the risk of children being seriously injured or killed in an accident. It has been found that 70% of major accidents involving children the seat was either not appropriate or fixed into the vehicle correctly.
What you need to know…
Up to 6 months
Rear facing baby capsule only
6 months to 4 years old
Rear facing baby capsule or forward facing Child Safety Seat
4 years old – 7 years old
Child restraints seat through to a booster seat
A child needs to be over 7 years old to be allowed to legally sit in the front seat of the vehicle. The only time that this is allowed is if the other seats of the vehicle are occupied with children younger than the child sitting in the front seat.
The rear of the vehicle is the safest part of the vehicle for the children to be seated to allow them the best possible chance of survival and avoid injury.
Just as important as choosing the appropriate seat but fitting the seat to the vehicle properly is imperative to the child being safe.
There is no point putting a child in a safety seat if the seat is going to flung around the car in the event of an accident because it is not properly secured.
A seat belt around the seat is not securing the seat properly. Read the instructions for the seat, using all the safety straps even though it can make getting the baby in and out of the vehicle harder. They are there for good reason and will reduce the risk considerably.
Anchor points are located at the top of the seat. Not all vehicles will have them.
Vehicles that have been manufactured after mid 1990 will have anchor points. Some of the vehicles will have 2 to 3 and are not always located for each of the seat positions.
Positioning of the seat, left, right or center is something that needs to be taken into serious consideration. The center of the vehicle is the safest as it offers more space from the sides in the case of side impact in an accident.
However this is not the most practical as getting the child in and out of the vehicle is a lot more difficult leaning towards the center of the vehicle. This is especially more difficult for loading and unloading newborns.
Installing the seat at the right hand rear of the vehicle is potentially dangerous being that this is the side of the vehicle that is exposed to traffic. Putting the child in and out of the vehicle is dangerous especially where there are busy roads.
Never put a children’s seat in the front seat of the vehicle if there is an air bag. The only time it is appropriate is if there are younger passengers in the rear of the vehicle and it is completely unavoidable.
If there are any doubts about how to fit the seat to your vehicle, take your seat and vehicle to your local mechanical workshop and ask for them to fit it or you.
Contact the Department of Transport or visit their website www.tmr.qld.gov.au if you have any questions in relation to the laws about child safety.