Important points to remember
- Important points to remember when purchasing a child restraint
- Child Restraint Checklist
- How to maintain your child restraint
- Important points to remember
There are many things to think about before purchasing a baby / child seat for your precious cargo.
Here is a list of things to take into consideration:
- Anchor point availablility & position (refer to your vehicle user manual for anchor point locations in your vehicle)
- Safety seating position and whether it is available and/or suitable?
- Will the restraint fit in your vehicle (some restraints can be quite bulky, especially when in the rearward facing position)?
- Is there sufficient room for other passengers?
- How many restraints do you require to fit into your vehicle?
- If fitting 3 restraints across the second row of seats, will they fit, allowing all 3 seats to sit and secure correctly into the vehicle? (Just because a vehicle has 3 anchor points, doesn't necessarily mean 3 child restraints will fit)
- Is the seat easily accessible? (Is it easy to get your child in and out of the vehicle)
- How much do you have to spend?
- How long will it last?
- Does your child sleep whilst in the vehicle and if so does the restraint recline to allow for this?
- How easy is it to install? (if you require to move it from one vehicle to another)
The reseach doesn't stop there. As your child/children grow, you need to ensure they are still secured in an appropriate restraint.
Maintaining your restraint on a regular basis will help to ensure it functions correctly in the event of an incident and that your child is secured correctly for their age and size.
How to maintain your restraint:
- Be sure to check your restraint/s on a regular basis to ensure it is firm and secure
- Ensure everytime the restraint is used the harness is adjusted to fit the child as snugly as possible
- If using bunny rugs, ensure you fasten the harness first then place the rug over the baby
- Check the harness/seatbelt regularly to ensure it is at the correct height for your child
- Consider the child's size and adjust the restraint as they grow. They must not exceed the maximum capacity of the restraint being used
- For all installation and usage instructions, refer to your vehicle or child restraint user manual
- Child restraints must only be used on forward facing vehicle seats
- Booster seats must not be used with a lap only seat belt
- When using a lap sash seat belt with a booster seat, the sash must cross the child's shoulder and must not come in contact with their neck or face. Most child restraint manufacturers provide a sash guide to assist with correct fitment
- Remove and wash the material cover of your restraint/s on a regular basis
- Ensure seat doesn't gather food scraps as this may effect the function of the restraint mechanisms
- Is the vehicle seatbelt fitted to the child restraint correctly?
- Is the vehicle seatbelt correctly tensioned and secured?
- Is the built in harness / adult seatbelt fitted around your child correctly and free of unnecessary twists?
- Is the upper tether strap secured to the correct anchorage point and free of unnecessary twists?
- Are there any loose objects that could hit your child?
- Is the restraint and its straps undamaged and in good condition?
- Is the harness height set at the correct level for your child?
- Has your child outgrown the restraint?
- Is the adjustable head support, if fitted, at the correct height for your child?
Download a printable version of the RACQ Child Restraint Checklist (PDF, 480KB) for daily advice on using and maintaining your child restraint.
Additional points to consider
- Only purchase and use a restraint carrying the Standards Australia AS/NZS 1754 sticker
- Not all restraints are suitable for all cars
- Only use a second-hand restraint if you are sure it has not been involved in an accident and is in good condition and less than 10 years old
- Check for obvious signs of wear on the straps, buckles and adjusters
- Make sure your seat is fitted correctly
Need assistance in selecting a restraint for your child or just have a general enquiry?