Fitting a child restraint can be harder than you think. In fact, 70% of child restraints aren’t installed correctly – which can lead to serious injury or death in a crash.
RACV recommends you have child restraints professionally installed. RACV has a network of restraint fitters throughout Victoria who can fit your restraint or check that it’s installed correctly.
Even after a seat is properly installed, the seatbelt and tether can loosen over time, so it’s important to check these regularly and adjust them as your child grows.
What should I check?
There are regular checks you can do to make sure you’re using your car seat correctly, these include checking:
- the tether strap is firmly attached to the anchor point (see your car’s manual for anchor point locations)
- the seatbelt or ISOFIX connectors are properly secured into place
- the harness and the seatbelt are firm and without twists
- the gap between the child and harness is no more than 2 fingers
- the child’s shoulders are within the correct range of the shoulder height markers
- the restraint is still right for the child's height.
Tip: Keep the instructions that came with the restraint or look them up online in case anything needs adjusting.
Finding your car’s anchor points
Child restraints and most booster seats need to be attached via a top tether strap to an anchor point in the car. Typically, the anchor point can be found on the parcel shelf in sedans and on the floor area in station wagons, vans and hatchbacks. Some station wagons may have the anchor point on the inside roof area.
Depending on when a car was manufactured, this will be either a special anchor bolt or anchor fitting. For the location of anchor points in your vehicle, refer to your owner's manual.
Be careful not to confuse a luggage hook with an anchor point.