All children’s car seats sold in Australia and New Zealand MUST comply with current and stringent safety standards.
But only one child car seat gives five star protection against traumatic injuries in a serious accident, the latest official crash tests show.
We were more than shocked to see how some of the most popular car seats on the market stack up when put to the test at the NSW government’s Crashlab.
During a 56km/hr crash, only one car seat gets top marks
Finding out your child’s car seat isn’t equipped to handle a serious car accident is not something any parent wants to discover, especially not after the accident.
This is why NSW’s Crashlab recently tested 22 children’s car seats in a simulated crash test environment. Of the 22 seats tested, only one rear-facing seat scored five stars for the protection it provided in frontal, side and oblique crash tests at speeds ranging from 56km/h to 32km/h.
The car seat? The Nuna Klik Rear Facing seat.
All child car seats are safe, but some offer better protection
It’s important for parents to understand that, although some infant and child car seats received much higher marks than others, every car seat tested was considered safe. The number of stars represent how much the car seat exceeds the national safety standards. So even a child car seat with one star is still above the national safety standards.
The NSW Minister for Roads Melinda Pavey said there was a “vast difference in the quality of protection [child car seats] provided.
“[But] every seat on the market met Australia’s high standards. If they were unsafe, we would call it out, ” she said.
Child car seat safety standards for protection
The testing looked at two main criteria – protection rating and ease of use rating. Four different infant and child car seats received four stars for protection but many of the popular brands only received one star, including the Maxi Cosi Citi and Infa-Secure Luxi II. Again, it is important to note that each child car seat meets Australian standards.
The results for the protection rating is as follows:
- Nuna Klik capsule
- Britax Safe-N-Sound Kid Guard Pro
- Safety 1st Summit AP Isofix Rear Facing
- Infa-Secure Luxi II
- Babylove Taurus 2 Forward Facing
- Infa-Secure Versatile
- Hipod Kansas Rear Facing
- Babylove Taurus 2 used as Booster Seat
- Novus Booster Seat and Rear Facing
- Babylove Cosmic II
- Infa-Secure Kompressor 4 Treo and Grandeur Treo
- Hipod Kansas Forward Facing
- Safety 1st Summit AP Isofix Forward Facing
- Infa-Secure Luxi II Rear Facing
- Maxi-Cosi Citi
- Infa-Secure Kompressor 4 Treo Rear Facing
- Babylove Cosmic II Forward Facing
- Infa-Secure Grandeur Treo Forward Facing
- Maxi-Cosi Luna
- Infa-Secure Luxi II
Car seats NOT easy to install
Interestingly enough, under the ease of use rating, not a single car seat scored five stars. Most received two stars with Safe-N-Sound Kid Guard Pro Booster Seat receiving the highest score of four stars.
Having a car seat that is easy to install is an important buying criteria these days, especially as the majority of parents admit they aren’t confident about knowing how to correctly install a car seat.
A study by Neuroscience Research Australia (NeuRA) found that at least 90 per cent of the parents studied made a mistake when attempting to install a mannequin into a child car seat.
“You might have the best restraint there is, but if it is not put in properly it is not going to provide protection the child needs,” Mrs Pavey adds.
The crash results come from the NSW Centre for Road Safety as part of the annual child restraint evaluation (CREP) program. The program is a partnership between Transport for NSW, the National Roads & Motorists’ Association, Royal Automobile Club of Victoria and Transport Accident Commission.
For more information on proper car seat installation, check out our car seat safety guidelines.