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How safe is your child in the car?

Despite high levels of child car restraint use in Australia and one of the most stringent child car restraint design standards in the world, approximately 40-70 children are killed on Australian roads each year, while thousands more are injured.

Anecdotal evidence suggests that over 70% of child car restraints are incorrectly fitted or used. This poses a serious safety risk to children travelling in those restraints.

Do you know how to choose the correct restraint for your child’s size, install it correctly and ensure it is adjusted to fit them properly on every trip? The good news is that there are some updated guidelines to help Australian parents and carers through this process.

UPDATED BEST PRACTICE GUIDELINES FOR THE SAFE RESTRAINT OF CHILDREN TRAVELLING IN MOTOR VEHICLES

In March this year, Neuroscience Research Australia (NeuRA) and Kidsafe Australia released the updated Best Practice Guidelines on how to keep children safe while travelling on our roads.

The updated Guidelines provide advice and recommendations on how to choose and use child car restraints, when to transition to adult seat belts, and on keeping children safe during alternative means of travel such as in rideshare services and on public transport.

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE “BEST PRACTICE GUIDELINES” AND THE LAWS?

While there are laws in Australia regarding the use of child car restraints, these outline the minimum requirements. Evidence shows that there is more that can be done above and beyond these minimum requirements to minimise injuries to children.

The Best Practice Guidelines – approved by the National Health and Medical Research Council – are based on the best scientific evidence to provide parents, carers, and road safety practitioners with advice on the optimal use of child restraints and seat belts, to minimise the risk of injury for children in the event of a crash.

To find out more or access the guidelines resources you can visit the Kidsafe Australia website www.kidsafe.com.au/crguidelines