Car seats for children greatly reduce the risk of a child being injured or killed in a car accident. The seats, suitable for children weighing up to 32 kg —usually children up to 10 years old—are fitted in the car and used with existing adult seatbelts.
When children are not properly restrained they are more likely to suffer serious injuries or die in car accidents.
A recent Australian study confirmed that:
using adult seatbelts too early, using seatbelts incorrectly and using lap-only seatbelts all increase children’s risk of injury or death
child car restraints reduce the risk of injury and death in a car accident by preventing contact between the child and the car’s interior, protecting the child from impact and spreading any impact force onto stronger parts of the body. (Source: Medical Journal of Australia, June 2007.)
The mandatory standard for child restraints for motor vehicles came into effect on 7 November 1978 and was last amended 7 May 2011. It covers various requirements for the design, construction, performance, user instructions, marking and packaging of child car restraints.
72 passengers under 16 years old died in motor vehicle accidents in Australia in 2005, making up about66 per centof all road user deaths in this age group
20 per cent (at minimum) of child car restraints are not fitted correctly in Australia—for example, the top tether is not connected, the seatbelt is incorrectly threaded or not buckled, or the anchorage point is used the wrong way
Car accidents are the most common cause of injury for children aged 1 to 14 years old in Australia
40 per cent of all injury-related deaths in Australia are from car accidents