Parents confused about child car seat safety, RACV research reveals

Parents are never more conscious of child car safety than around the time of their baby’s birth, but RACV research has revealed that awareness diminishes as the child grows older.

RACV Public Policy Senior Programs Coordinator, Tim Davern said that seven children aged under 16 were killed in Victorian car collisions during 2016, while 21 were seriously injured. Hundreds more required hospitalisation.

“This latest research tells us what parents currently know about child road safety but most importantly it pinpoints those aspects of child road safety that are least understood,” Mr Davern said.

The research involved four parent focus groups and an online questionnaire, both of which explored awareness of choice and installation of appropriate child restraints and the decision-making process when transitioning to an adult seatbelt.

“RACV found that most parents complied with Victorian child restraint laws and all parents with babies aged less than six months, knew that their infant needed to travel in a rearward facing capsule or car seat.

“However, compliance and awareness of the law appeared to diminish as children become older and transition into larger sized restraints.

“Parents naturally see their baby moving into a forward-facing child car seat as an exciting milestone but we urge parents to not be in such a rush because the reality is that their child will be safer facing backwards for as long as they fit in the seat.”

Mr Davern said RACV research found there was some confusion when it came to transitioning children into the next sized restraint.

“The best tools we have to indicate when a child has outgrown the restraint are the shoulder height markers, which have been on all restraints manufactured over the past five years.

“RACV has a new video to improve awareness of checking shoulder height markers and we encourage parents to do the shoulder height check regularly.”

The research also revealed that safety performance in crash testing was very important to parents when purchasing a restraint, but few had directly accessed the Child Restraint Evaluation Program (CREP) crash test information.

To help parents, RACV has updated its website (racv.com.au/childrestraints) with specific information and advice, including links to the CREP results.

The Child Road Safety report is available at racv.com.au/reports

RACV’s Insight blog also features advice around choosing the right restraint: insight.racv.com.au

Written by RACV Public Affairs, Liselotte Geary 03 9790 2717
February 02, 2017