Australia’s safest car seats revealed

By Elvira Lazar, research and policy officer

Parents often ask me about the best or safest car seats on the market. With the latest Child Restraint Evaluation Program (CREP) test results just in, giving them a useful answer becomes a little easier.

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.

The independent testing is tougher than Australian Standard requirements, to give parents a clear idea of a car seat’s safety performance above the minimum required by law, and beyond what they may hear from a salesperson.

The CREP results once again demonstrate that not all car seats are created equal. Here are the better-performing seats in 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 (birth to at least 6 months)

Rearward facing capsule car seats

Rearward facing capsule car seats

Protection

Ease of use

Phil & Teds Alpha Model PT CS 01

Babylove Snap'nGo Series BL620A/2010

Infa-Secure CS2113 - Arlo Infant Carrier* - installed with seatbelt or ISOFIX

Chicco KeyFit Plus 79046

Nuna Pipa CF-03

Safe-N-Sound Baby Safety Capsule Series 2030/A/2010

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. (There are also capsules available for use from birth to 12 months but our testing rates these with 3 stars or less.)

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

While both of these single purpose-forward-facing car seats can be used from 6 months, the Maxi Guard can be used to at least 8 years of age.

Single purpose forward facing car seats

Single purpose forward facing car seats

Protection

Ease of use

Safe-N-Sound Trufix 6100/A/2013 Fitted with ISOFIX

Safe-N-Sound Trufix 6100/A/2013 Fitted with Seatbelt

Safe-N-Sound Maxi Guard Pro SICT 8300/A/2013

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

Parents are spoilt for choice in this category, with three seats scoring a 5-star safety rating. Kids should keep using a booster for as long as possible, at least until they can  pass the 5 step test.

(There are also booster seats that children can use until they are at least 10. The one tested in this category received a 3-star protection rating.)

Single purpose booster seats

Single purpose booster seats

Protection

Ease of use

Safe-N-Sound 4830/A/2013 (Hi-Liner SG Series, Hi Grow Series)

Safe-N-Sound Hi-Liner SG Series 4830/A/2010

Infa-Secure CS5413 (Vertex Quantum, Vario Vera, Vario Treo, Vario Element, Transit II)

Hipod Boston or Boston Pro Series 4200/A/2010

Babylove EzyFit BL4200A/2010

Safety 1st Apex AP GMEA2013

Babylove Ezy Boost Series BL4400/A/2010

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)

Rearward Facing

Protection

Rearward Facing

Ease of use

Forward Facing

Protection

Forward Facing

Ease of use

Infa-Secure Quattro CS8113 (Treo, Neo, Vera, Vogue) [3]

Safe-N-Sound Compaq MKII Series 7300/F/2013 [3]

Safe-N-Sound Slimm Line AHR 7300/E/2013/i - Fitted with Seatbelt [3]

Safe-N-Sound Slimm Line AHR 7300/E/2013/i - Fitted with ISOFIX [3]

Safety 1st Sentinal Air Protect D/B2010 (1)

Mothers Choice GS 2010 (Model variations: Black Velour, Charm, Cruise, Emporer, Mystique, Twist, Wonder, Pure Red, ZuZu Lexington, GoSafe) [1]

Mother's Choice DBA2013 Cherish Air Protect (2)

Safe-N-Sound 7300/C/2010 (Model variations: Balance, Cabrini, Safeguard, Safekeeper, Kinetic) [2]

Safe-N-Sound (Platinum PRO SICT, Millenia SICT) 7200/A/2013 (3) fitted with seatbelt or ISOFIX* [3]

Infa-Secure CS4010 (Model variations: Cosi Compact, Ascent, Aurora, Neon, Create) [2]

Mother's Choice Silver Embrace DB2013 [2]

  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

We have a new result in this category for an ISOFIX compatible car seat, which is one of only two of its type that scores 4 stars when forward facing. While these are the best-performing seats in forward mode, their performance rating is 3 stars when rearward facing.

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

Safety 1st Prime AP GMBE2A 2013

Safety 1st Destiny Eternity GM 2010

Safe-N-Sound Maxi Rider Ezy Adjust Series 8100/A/2010

Infa-Secure Comfi CS7210 (Model variations: Caprice, Grange, Treo, Vera)

Infa-Secure CS 7110 (Model variations: Apollo, Comfi Crown, Comfi Cruiser, Novelle, Odyssey, Racing Kid, Rally, Roamer, Rovette)

Mothers Choice V9 2010 (Model variations: Victory Pure Red, Cruise, Victory Ebony, Victory/Whirl)

Mother's Choice Rapture GM 2010 (also Safety 1st Destiny Eternity)

Safe-N-Sound Novus JS8A/2010

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. Over time seats can wear, so make sure parts stay in good working condition.

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

Rearward Facing

Ease of use

Forward Facing

Protection

Forward Facing

Ease of use

Infa-Secure CS 4210 (Model variations: Luxi Crown, Luxi Ride Meteor, Mirage, Paramount, Style Rider)

Infa-Secure CS 4310 - Luxi Caprice

The protection rating is best in the rearward and booster modes, with 4 stars. When these seats are used forward facing, the protection rating is only 3 stars.

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

Top tips for choosing car seats

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

  • 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.
  • What type of car seat do you want? Would you prefer something that converts or one that’s used until another type is needed?
  • How old is your child? While age is 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.
  • 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
May 05, 2017