Car seat safety – everyone buys their children’s car seats with the best of intentions. However, according to the experts, there are three common and potentially fatal mistakes many families make.
And what’s even scarier? All three potentially fatal issues are the result of human error so here’s our ultimate guide to Car Seat Safety.
Did you know that an unrestrained passenger in a 60kph car crash can sustain forces equivalent to throwing them from a fourth floor window? This is why choosing, installing and correctly using the right car seat for your child is so important!
The Australian Standards for Children’s Car Seats are some of the best and safest in the world. Australian approved restraints undergo more testing and at higher impact speeds compared to those in any other jurisdiction. The only variable in child safety seats in Australia is how well they are used. So, yes Mum and Dad, in the event of an accident and a child car seat failing, the most likely cause of injury? It’s you! Scary but true!
Thanks to Mitsubishi Motors Australia, here’s what you need to know to make sure your family has the head start on safety when in the car.
Getting the Best Possible Performance from a Car Seat
The science of children’s car seats tell us that you’ll get the best possible performance from a seat when:
- It is the right restraint for the size of the child
- The seat is compatible with the vehicle you’re installing it in
- It’s correctly installed (use a professional service if you’re not confident!)
- The seat’s correctly adjusted to the size of the child before every trip
MISTAKE NUMBER 1: SIZE MATTERS!
When it comes to car seat safety, size is the most important factor to consider. Choosing the wrong restraint for the size of the child can be a lethal mistake with belts and harnesses impacting children in the wrong spot in a collision and not adequately holding them in the seat. Many parents are excited or feel rushed to move their child up a seat category but it must be understood that every step up in car seats is a step down in the safety of the child.
Here’s our super popular guide to Isofix and fitting three seats across the back!
It is a potentially lethal error in judgment to have your child in the wrong size seat. For the maximum possible car seat safety it is important to understand the recommendations:
- Make the right selection using the available recommended data based on testing.
- Understand that a step up in car seats is step down in safety.
- Compare rear facing to forward facing – rear facing is proven to be safer. Keep your child rear facing as long as you can within the limit of the child restraint that you have.
- Harnesses are better than seat belts – only process to a seat belt when the child has outgrown all other safer options. The rule of thumb is that a child should, on average, be around 145cm tall before they can safely use a vehicle car seat. This is usually around the age of 8-9.
MISTAKE NUMBER 2: HARNESS ERRORS
- Harnesses are proven better than seat belts because they spread crash loads over more straps, they path safely over the body and they do not loosen once tightened.
- Incorrect harness use dramatically increases the chance of a child being seriously injured in a car crash.
- Incorrect use of the harness is a common mistake. A twisted seat belt in high impact situations can cut and cause injury to a child.
- Harnesses should not be adjusted when putting the seat belt on to accommodate bulky clothing and growth of the child.
MISTAKE NUMBER 3: HARNESS FIT
Incorrect harness height is the other main error resulting in serious injury.
- If the harness is too high the child can fall out of the seat in an accident.
- If the harness is too low it can cause compression and result in spinal injuries.
It is interesting to note that harnesses and seat belts are made from a product called webbing. This specialty material is designed to stretch by 16-18% under heavy crash loads. This acts as a shock absorbed and is intended to dissipate crash force. This ‘give’ is also the reason that a harness should be fitted very precisely.
What to do now?
Are you worried that you’re committing any of these seat belt mistakes? Please take this expert advice and be sure to apply it every day when travelling with your kids in the car.
If you are concerned about the fit of your child’s car seat, we encourage you to see an expert fitter. Many local councils also run special days to have your car seats checked, be sure to visit your local area website and see if this is on offer.
REMEMBER: The Basic Rules for Car Seat Usage
Only child seats that meet the Australian Standard can be used in Australia.
It is illegal to use overseas or unapproved child seats.
6 MONTHS AND UNDER: All children 6 months and under must be in a rear facing seat.
6 MONTHS TO FOUR YEARS: All children 6 months to four years must be in either a rear facing child restraint or a forward facing restraint with an inbuilt harness.
FOUR YEARS TO SEVEN YEARS: Children aged four to seven years must be in a forward facing child restraint with inbuilt harness or a booster seat.
CHILDREN OVER SEVEN YEARS: Children over seven years are legally allowed to travel in a vehicle using the lap-sash seat belt.
LARGE CHILDREN: Large children who have outgrown their prescribed child restraint category before reaching the required age are permitted to progress to the next category due to their size.
AWESOME: To see how and when you should be transitioning your child, from baby capsule right up to booster seat, check out this valuable guide from Infasecure.
If you’re serious about safety for your family maybe it’s time you considered a Mitsubishi! With a 5 Star ANCAP Rating and all the safety features you could dream of (plus more bells and whistles than you could ever imagine!) a Mitsubishi is the ideal choice of family car.
For more information on why you’d love a Mitsi for your family visit the website or request a brochure. Of course when it comes to cars there’s nothing more important than safety so don’t forget to check out the outstanding safety features a Mitsubishi could bring to your family.
From us to you, safe driving!
This is a sponsored post for Mitsubishi Motors Australia