Not all car seats are created equal. These are Australia’s safest baby, toddler and child car seats for 2021.
Australia’s safest baby and child car seats have been revealed, again with mixed results. In its latest round of assessments, the independent Child Restraint Evaluation Program (CREP) has given its first five-star safety performance rated rearward facing seat, while others just passed the Australian Standard.
CREP is a national consortium including Kidsafe and the Transport Accident Commission. RACV’s Elvira Lazar says the program exists to enable parents to compare and find the seats that have the best protection ratings.
For the assessments, test dummies measuring the upper end of the height and weight limit for each type of seat are put into a crash simulation to measure the forces experienced by the dummy on impact. The car seats are scored based on several performance aspects, such as how well they maintain structural integrity and how well they protect the child’s torso in a car crash.
The CREP assessments aim to educate parents about which restraints offer the best protection, by assessing child car seats not only on how they perform in crash tests, but also how easy they are to install and use.
Your child's safety is of paramount importance, which is why all seats tested by CREP comply with Australian Standards. While Australian Standards specify a range of design and performance requirements and involve some crash testing, the CREP ratings assess how a seat performs over and above the minimum safety requirements of the standard. This means even a one-star CREP safety rated seat performs over and above the minimum requirements.
“The CREP independent testing is tougher than Australian Standard requirements in order to help parents make an informed decision about which seat to buy based on actual performance, not what they are being told by a salesperson,” Elvira explains.
While overall protection ratings are paramount, Elvira says ease of use should also be taken into consideration as the simpler a car seat is to install and use, the more likely it is to be used correctly.
“The results demonstrate that not all car seats are created equal and price is not a good indicator of safety so parents need to remain vigilant when it comes to choosing the appropriate restraint for their child.”
CREP has tested many of Australia’s top-selling car seats. From baby and toddler seats to boosters and convertibles, these are the highest-rating child car seats by category.