Parents are being urged to do their research and shop around before buying a child restraint after a catastrophic failure saw a dummy ejected from its seat for the first time in the Child Restraint Evaluation Program’s (CREP) history.
The NRMA today announced results for six child restraints which were tested in seven modes and scored on safety and ease of use. Not one restraint scored five stars; only two car seats scored four stars.
Shockingly, one test resulted in the dummy being ejected from the restraint in a catastrophic performance failure. The result has led to an overhaul of the test protocol so that a zero rating can be given. CREP has contacted the ACCC and Standards Australia to notify them of the result.
All restraints tested comply with the Australian Standard, so they provide certain minimum levels of safety, however there is a vast difference in the quality of protection they offer. CREP puts the child car seats through more rigorous testing than the tests in the mandatory standard, which better reflects the risk children are exposed to in a real-world crash.
The Joie i-Travvel was tested in both seatbelt and ISOfix mode. For the first time since CREP commenced in 1992 the dummy was ejected during crash testing in ISOfix forward-facing mode.
NRMA’s Road Safety Expert, Dimitra Vlahomitros said the device had been on the market since April meaning parents needed to be alerted to its poor performance in forward-facing mode.
“A child restraint that doesn’t restrain a dummy just doesn’t cut it. These tests demonstrate once again that not all car seats are created equal and the manufacturer needs to lift its game,” Ms Vlahomitros said.
“This is the first time a restraint failed to the extent that the dummy was ejected. Choosing the correct child seat could be a lifesaving decision so it is critical parents make their purchase based on performance and ease of use rather than price or aesthetics.”
The NRMA is putting all manufacturers on notice. A new protocol is now in place to ensure that manufacturers that under-deliver in future tests to the standards the NRMA expects for its Members will get called out – we do not want restraints shooting dummies out of the seat.
Christine Erskine, Executive Officer, Kidsafe NSW and an advocate for child injury prevention said: “We urge the manufacturer to ensure that all their products provide a high level of safety in all modes and meet community expectations.”
Click here for access to the crash-test footage of Joie i-Travvel.
A child seat is a long-term investment in a child’s comfort and safety. Here’s the NRMA’s top tips for purchasing a car seat:
- Go to http://www.childcarseats.com.au/ to find out the crash rating and compare child restraints
- If you intend buying a seat your child can use as they get older, ensure they offer good levels of protection across the different modes
- Shop around to find the right price Ensure your seat is professionally installed, and ask the installer to show you how to do it yourself in case it needs to be moved from car to car
- Be wary of purchasing a second hand seat: make sure you know its full history; check the manufacturer’s sticker to make sure it is less than 10 years old; don’t use the seat if straps or harness are frayed; and check for any obvious signs of wear or tear
- Familiarise yourself with the national Child Restraint Laws: https://roadsafety.transport.nsw.gov.au/stayingsafe/children/childcarseats