Australia’s safest car seats revealed

As tested by childcarseats.com.au

By Elvira Lazar, Manager Safety and Education

Parents often ask me about the best or safest car seats on the market. With a continuous stream of new seats being sold, it’s useful to be able to distinguish which seats provide good protection. The Child Restraint Evaluation Program (CREP) test results are a useful guide in helping make the decision about which seat to buy. 

RACV is a partner in the independent testing program, which shows how well car seats and boosters protect children in a crash and how easy they are to use.

All seats tested by CREP comply with Australian Standards and provide good protection. The CREP independent testing is tougher than Australian Standard requirements, to give parents an idea of a car seat’s safety performance beyond the protection required by the standard, and beyond what they may hear from a salesperson.

All seats tested by CREP comply with Australian Standards and provide good protection. The CREP independent testing is tougher than Australian Standard.

As child car seats supplied in Australia have improved, CREP updated and introduced a revised scoring procedure in 2018. This means that child car seats assessed prior to 2018 should not be compared to those tested under this new test procedure. 

The results once again demonstrate that not all car seats are created equal. We compared car seats tested under the revised 2018 scoring test method, here are the top results for each category. 

Top single purpose car seats

These seats can only be used in one way. Once children outgrow their seat, they will need a new one.

Single purpose rearward facing car seats

These seats are commonly called capsules and click into a base installed in the car. Some brands also offer an option that clicks into a pram. 

Capsules are generally for use from birth to at least 6 months but some, like the Joie I-Gemm (tested with seatbelt) with a 3.7-star protection rating, are available for use from birth to 12 months.

Rearward facing capsule car seats

Rearward facing capsule car seats

Protection

Ease of use

Nuna Pipa Klik (tested with ISOFIX) CF-06-001AU

5/5

2.6/5

Joie I-Gemm (tested with seatbelt) I1404AAPAV600

3.7/5

2.6/5

Mountain Buggy Protect (tested with seatbelt) MBCS02

3.5/5

2.3/5

Steelcraft Baby Capsule 60/A/2013/1

3.1/5

2.9/5

Single purpose forward facing car seats (6 months to at least 4 years)

This single purpose forward-facing car seat can be used from 6 months to at least 8 years of age.

Single purpose forward facing car seats

Single purpose forward facing car seats

Protection

Ease of use

Maxi-Cosi Luna KXGA2013

1.9/5

2.4/5

Single purpose booster seats (4 years to at least 7 years old)

Parents are spoilt for choice in this category, with five seats rating above a 4-star protection rating. Remember that kids should keep using a booster for as long as possible, at least until they can pass the 5-step test for good seatbelt fit.

There are also booster seats that children can use until they are at least 10 years old. The one we tested was the Safe-N-Sound Kid Guard PRO which received a 4.7-star protection rating.

Single purpose booster seats

Single purpose booster seats

Protection

Ease of use

Mother's Choice (Dawn, Trinity) GME 2013

4.8/5

2.8/5

Joie Trillo Series C1220GAMND600

4.7/5

2.9/5

Safe-N-Sound Kid Guard PRO Series BS4900A-020130

4.7/5

4.4/5

Babylove Ezy Fit II Series BL4200/A/2013 OR Hipod Boston Pro HP4200/A/2013

4.6/5

3.5/5

Maxi-Cosi Rodi AP MCR2013

4.4/5

2.8/5

Infa-Secure (Stowaway, Versatile, Traveller, Getaway, Foldaway) CS6013

3.3/5

3.6/5

Top convertible car seats

All convertible seats can be used for longer because once kids outgrow one mode, the seat can be reconfigured. Check the safety rating across all modes because most seats in this category receive different scores depending on mode.

Rearward facing car seat convertible to forward facing (birth to at least 4 years)

There are typically 3 types of these seats that are in the Australian market:

  1. Rearward facing from birth to at least 6 months, forward facing from 6 months to at least 4 years
  2. Rearward facing from birth to at least 12 months, forward facing from 6 months to at least 4 years
  3. Rearward facing from birth to approximately 2-3 years, forward facing from 12 months to at least 4 years

Some seats like the Safe-N-Sound Brava and Safe-N-sound Graphene have ISOFIX compatible variants, and they perform well too, with overall protections of 3.9 stars and 3.8 stars respectively.

Most of the seats tend to have higher protection ratings in rearward facing mode, compared to forward facing. Thus, it is always important to check the ratings across different modes.

Rearward Facing

Protection

Rearward Facing

Ease of use

Forward Facing

Protection

Forward Facing

Ease of use

Safe-N-Sound Graphene (tested with seatbelt) BS7300S-i20133

4.1/5

3.9/5

2.5/5

3.5/5

Safe-N-Sound Brava (tested with ISOFIX) BS7300E-i20133

3.9/5

3.9/5

2.9/5

3.5/5

Safe-N-Sound Brava (tested with seatbelt) BS7300E-i20133

3.8/5

3.9/5

4.8/5

3.5/5

Safe-N-Sound Graphene (tested with ISOFIX) BS7300S - i20133

3.8/5

3.9/5

3.0/5

3.5/5

Babylove Ezy Switch EP BL0072E-020133

3.7/5

2.3/5

2.6/5

2.5/5

Hipod Kansas JS72/E/2013

3.7/5

2.3/5

2.6/5

2.5/5

Forward facing car seats convertible to booster seat (6 months to at least 7 years)

There are a number of choices for seats that perform consistently as a forward-facing seat and as a booster.  

Safety ratings and ease-of-use results forward to booster car seats

Safety ratings and ease-of-use results forward to booster car seats

Forward Facing

Protection

Forward Facing

Ease of use

Booster

Protection

Booster

Ease of use

Infa-Secure (Odyssey II, Rally II, Rover) CS7113

4.7/5

1.9/5

3.8/5

2.7/5

Babylove Ezy Combo II OR Taurus II Series BL90B/2013*

4.2/5

2.6/5

2.9/5

3.4/5

Safety 1st Solo GMBE 2013

3.4/5

2.1/5

4.8/5

2.7/5

Safe-N-Sound Novus BS0008A-020133

2.9/5

2.7/5

2.9/5

3.2/5

Multi-purpose car seats – rearward, forward and booster mode (birth to at least 7 years)

These seats can be used from birth until kids outgrow the restraint and are ready to travel with a seatbelt. However, seats can wear out over time, so make sure parts stay in good working condition.

The Infa-Secure Luxi II Treo that CREP has tested has its highest protection rating in the booster mode with 4.1 stars. 

Safety ratings and ease-of-use results rearward, forward car seats

Safety ratings and ease-of-use results rearward, forward car seats

Rearward Facing

Protection

Forward Facing

Protection

Booster

Protection

Infa-Secure Luxi II Treo CS4313

2.9/5

1.8/5

4.1/5

MORE INFORMATION:

Find a full list of safety ratings at childcarseats.com.au

With such a big range of seats on the market, you can ask yourself a few questions to narrow your search.

  • How old and how tall is your child? While age is a good place to start, it’s more important to know how big children are to work out when it will be time to change to another car seat.
  • What type of car seat do you want? Would you prefer something that converts or one that’s used until another type is needed?
  • Check the safety rating in all modes. Remember that convertible restraints might be safer in one position over another (for example, 4-stars in the forward position and 3-stars when facing rearward).
  • Check the ease of use score. A seat that is easier to use is more likely to be used correctly.
  • Does the seat fit well in your car? See how the restraint will fit into your car before you buy it, particularly if you have a smaller car. Having it professionally fitted is also a good idea and the fitter can show you how to use the seat properly too.
  • Check the price of the seat. Some of the seats that perform better in crash testing are also the cheapest! Aim to buy the safest seat you can afford.
Written by RACV
April 17, 2019