Research reveals 28% of respondents reported that they rarely or never checked that the ISOFIX attachments on their restraint were clicked in and that the straps were tight enough.
Kidsafe Victoria has urged parents to maximise the protection of children at the release of their new research report, by ensuring that child restraints are correctly fitted, regularly checked and maintained.
The research, funded by the Transport Accident Commission (TAC) Community Road Safety Grants program, investigated attitudes towards and the use of ISOFIX compatible child restraints, a system which was first introduced in Australia as part of the 2013 Australian Standard (AS/NZS 1754:2013).
General Manager of Kidsafe Victoria, Jason Chambers, said that the research identified a number of important misuse and incorrect fitting issue with ISOFIX compatible child restraints.
While the large majority of parents reported that they found ISOFIX compatible restraints easy to use and install, 72% of professional child restraint fitters involved in the research reported that they had come across incorrect fitting and misuse issues with ISOFIX compatible child restraints.
Mr Chambers highlighted the importance of correctly fitting and using child restraints on every trip, saying that the incorrect use of child restraints triples the risk of injury in a crash.
“The correct fitting and use of child restraints can determine the difference between minor and serious injuries that could impact a child for life. In some cases, the failure to correctly fit and use child restraints can mean the difference between life and death”, said Mr Chambers.
While checking and maintaining the fit of child restraints is vital in ensuring children are travelling as safely as possible, Kidsafe Victoria’s research showed that this aspect can often be overlooked.
“One of the most concerning results was that 28% of respondents reported that they rarely or never checked that the ISOFIX attachments on their restraint were clicked in and that the straps were tight enough”, said Mr Chambers.
“This issue is not unique to ISOFIX compatible child restraints, with a lack of attention to checking and maintaining the fit also commonly occurring with traditional child restraints.”
“Kidsafe Victoria’s message is the same – irrespective of whether or not you choose to use an ISOFIX compatible or traditional child restraint, it is important that on every trip, the restraint children are travelling in meets the Australian Standards, is the right size for them, correctly fitted to the vehicle and properly adjusted and fastened”, said Mr Chambers.
Key incorrect installation or misuse issues identified with ISOFIX compatible child restraints in the research included:
- Restraints that had been installed using both the ISOFIX connections and seatbelt
- Lower straps that have not been tightened enough
- ISOFIX connections not attached to the anchor point properly
- ISOFIX compatible child restraints where the top tether strap had not been connected (installed using the ISOFIX connections only)