The use of child seats in vehicles is now governed by national laws that are designed to ensure the safety of our little ones. It is not only important to buy the right seat for your child, but also to fit it safely and securely. It can be confusing, particularly for new parents. There’s a lot going on with a new arrival and quite often a baby seat does not come into consideration until the last minute. There are plenty of brands, models and options to consider, which can add to the nervousness surrounding child restraints.
So it makes sense that you seek out advice before purchasing a child restraint. Ways to do this include when getting car insurance quotes to check for advice on the company’s website; check with your State motoring body; ask the retailer; or talk to community organisations that also offer fitting advice. It’s important that your car also has the correct anchor points. If you’re not sure, when getting a car service in Sydney, a car service in Melbourne or anywhere else in Australia, get the mechanic to check.
Understanding the legislation governing car seats and child restraints is vital before making a purchase. The National Child Restraint Laws state that:
• Infants up to six months old be restrained in a rearward facing infant restraint;
• Children aged between six months and four years to be seated in either a rearward or forward facing child restraint;
• Children from the age of four to seven to be seated in a forward facing child restraint or booster seat;
• Children under the age of four to be seated in the rear of the vehicle;
• Children from the age of four to seven years to be only permitted in the front of the vehicle if all rear seats are already occupied by younger children.
Just remember, get some sound advice before buying, or if you are confident, make sure you follow the seat manufacturer’s directions to the letter. There is no point putting your child at risk – protecting little ones from harm or injury in the event of a crash is of the utmost importance.
Once you have determined the right seat for your child, it’s important to have it fitted correctly. Once again, follow the manufacturer’s advice. There are plenty of organisations available to help out, fit the restraint or to even check if you have done it properly. Sometimes you have to pay or just make a donation. Quite often just a check can put you at ease.
If you are involved in a crash and you have even the slightest suspicion that the child seat has been damaged in any way, including the straps that hold it in place, throw it out and buy a new one. It’s worth checking if your car insurance policy will cover this. Research has shown that placing children in seatbelts too early can increase the potential for injury, so get the right restraint for your child and make sure it is fitted properly.