Ensuring your kids are safe is the top of most parents priorities. So if you are planning to drive with children, ensuring they are safely buckled into a seat that has been installed correctly should also be as important.
Research shows that children who are restrained incorrectly are up to seven times more likely to be seriously injured in a crash than children who are fitted in the correct child car seat for their age and size. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions displayed on the side of all child seats carefully when fitting the seat and placing your child in it. If unsure, or seek advice from our qualified car rental staff. Here are the basics:
Child Restraint Tips
Fitting child seats (ones with built-in harnesses)
For all child restraints make sure your car seat belt is correctly pathed through the restraint and firmly tightened. Over-tightening isn’t necessary and won’t help much. Just make sure it’s firm.For rear facing restraints make sure the top strap is connected to the correct anchor point in your car and that it’s just tight enough to remove the slack. If it’s too tight it will lift the restraint off the car seat and make it unstable.
For forward facing restraints make sure the top strap is connected to the correct anchor point in your car and that it’s tight enough to hold the top of the restraint in place. Get this one as firm as your seat belt in this position. If you’re not sure that your child seat is correctly fitted, ask a Redspot Car Rentals representative to review.
Fitting Booster Seats
As a general rule, foam booster seats don’t need to be connected to the anchor point in your car. Because of their weight however, plastic booster seats often do. A booster seat is not ‘safer’ just because it’s anchored to your car. Extra harnesses with booster seats are often not necessary and can sometimes reduce their effectiveness if used incorrectly. If you have a need to use a harness with a booster seat then it’s best to have this professionally demonstrated and fitted. Redspot Car Rentals supplied booster seats do not require to be anchored.
Don’t use a booster seat with just a lap belt in a car. If this is the only seating position available then talk with a Redspot Car Rentals staff member about your options. All Redspot Car Rentals vehicles have strapped seat belts in the back seats. When using a booster seat with a lap-sash belt, make sure the sash portion of the belt is deflected away from your child’s neck by the booster seat’s guides. Also make sure the lap portion of the belt is travelling low across the child’s hips or upper thighs. The lap portion of the belt should never pass over your child’s stomach.
Day to day usage tips for child seats
Before placing your child into a child seat, make sure it’s still properly installed. The seat belts holding your child seat can come loose and they may have been unbuckled my mistake. Place your child in the seat with the harnesses loosened. Make sure they are also not twisted (twists may harm your child in the event of an accident). Buckle your child in and then tighten the harnesses.
This procedure will ensure your harnesses are properly adjusted every time you travel with your child. When taking your child out of their seat, loosen the harnesses first before releasing the buckle. This makes it easier to take your child out of the car, as well as reduces the risk of introducing a twist to the harnesses. Aim to have the harnesses of your child seat level with or slightly above your child’s shoulders. Make sure your child’s eye level is below the top of the child seat.
All children must be safely fastened in the correct child car seat for their age and size. A child who is properly secured in an approved child car seat is less likely to be injured or killed in a car crash than one who is not.
National Child Restraint Laws
- Children up to the age of six months must be secured in an approved rearward facing restraint
- Children aged from six months old but under four years old must be secured in either a rear or forward facing approved child restraint with an inbuilt harness
- Children under four years old cannot travel in the front seat of a vehicle with two or more rows
- Children aged from four years old but under seven years old must be secured in a forward facing approved child restraint with an inbuilt harness or an approved booster seat
- Children aged from four years old but under seven years old cannot travel in the front seat of a vehicle with two or more rows, unless all other back seats are occupied by children younger than seven years in an approved child restraint or booster seat
- Children aged from seven years old but under 16 years old who are too small to be restrained by a seatbelt properly adjusted and fastened are strongly recommended to use an approved booster seat
- Children in booster seats must be restrained by a suitable lap and sash type approved seatbelt that is properly adjusted and fastened, or by a suitable approved child safety harness that is properly adjusted and fastened.
If your child is too small for the child restraint specified for their age, they should be kept in their current child restraint until it is safe for them to move to the next level.
If your child is too large for the child restraint specified for their age, they may move to the next level of child restraint.
Seek help if you are unsure
At the end of the day, all the staff at Redspot Car Rentals are here to help. We even have trained and qualified child seat installers on site that will assist you with whatever you need. And if you want to clarify something before you arrive, just give us a call on 1300 668 810 or email [email protected]