March 5, 2023
Almost 9 in 10 child car restraints incorrectly fitted or used

Almost 90% of child car restraints are incorrectly fitted or used, dramatically increasing the risk of transport related injuries, according to figures released as part of the ‘Safe Seats, Safe Kids’ free child car restraint fitting and checking program.

The figures have prompted Kidsafe Victoria to issue an urgent call for parents and carers to regularly check that their child car restraints are correctly installed and adjusted to fit their child, and book in for a free fitting or check.

Of the more than 16,000 child car restraints recently inspected across Victoria, 86% were incorrectly installed or used, including:

  • 47% which required an adjustment
  • 37% which required a complete refit, and; 
  • 2% which needed to be replaced due to issues, including being more than 10 years old, having damaged/missing parts, or being an overseas model that did not meet Australian standards.

Kidsafe Victoria CEO, Melanie Courtney, said the figures highlighted the immense danger posed by incorrectly installed or used child restraints.

“The risk of life-threatening injuries has been shown to be 4-6 times greater when child car restraints are incorrectly fitted or used.”

“Ensuring child car restraints are properly installed can be challenging for parents if they haven’t been shown how to do so, which is why the ‘Safe Seats, Safe Kids’ program is so important.”

“Many parents and carers who attend one of our free checking days simply don’t know that their child isn’t restrained safely.”

“Our accredited fitters ensure the restraint is correctly fitted and also provide education and advice to help parents continue to keep their kids safe on every trip.”

Transport related incidents are one of the leading causes of accidental death for Australian children. On average, around seven children under 15 are killed and 300 are injured each year on Victorian roads.

The ‘Safe Seats, Safe Kids’ program was introduced to help combat the issue of incorrectly fitted child car restraints and improve safety outcomes for children travelling in vehicles. It is run by Kidsafe Victoria in partnership with Neighbourhood Houses Victoria, with support from the Victorian State Government.

Neighbourhood Houses Victoria CEO, Keir Paterson, said that the ‘Safe Seats, Safe Kids’ program provided a vital service to local communities that many families may not otherwise be able to afford.

“I encourage all parents and carers to book in for a free child car restraint fitting or check at their local Neighbourhood House ‘Safe Seats, Safe Kids’ day.”

“Neighbourhood Houses are there to support their communities, and I can’t think of a more important way to support families than the safety of children.”

Typical incorrect installation and usage issues identified as part of the program include:

  • Top tether straps that are twisted, connected to the wrong point in the vehicle or not connected to an anchor point at all
  • Twisted harness straps or harness straps that are at the incorrect height
  • Seatbelts that are threaded through the incorrect path
  • ISOFIX attachments which aren’t secured correctly
  • Children who have been graduated to the next stage of restraint before they are the right size

Parents and carers – including grandparents – can book a free appointment to have their child car restraint installed or inspected at one of the free fitting and checking days by visiting the Safe Seats Safe Kids website:

A free e-learning tool has also been created as part of the program to assist parents and carers in choosing, installing and using child car restraints correctly:

For information and advice on the best practice guidelines for the safe transportation of children, please visit