ECEC services advised to check car seats after latest CREP results released.
The latest results from the Child Restraint Evaluation Program (CREP) were released last week, prompting a reminder to all early childhood education and care (ECEC) services to check any restraints used as part of their transportation of children, and to share the information with parents and carers of their services.
The National Roads and Motorists Association (NRMA) and its partner organisations, including KidSafe NSW announced the results of tests of nine popular child restraints, scoring for safety and ease of use.
None of the seats scored a top five star rating, one seat scored less than two stars for protection, and four of the booster seats tested scored less than four stars for protection.
Whilst all the restraints tested complied with the Australian Standard, there was “a vast difference” in the quality of protection offered, the researchers said.
NRMA spokesperson Dimitra Vlahomitros said that choosing the correct seat was a “crucially important” decision when transporting children.
The top scoring booster seat in the most recent testing retails for $99, with some boosters previously tested retailing for $500 or more, but performing poorly in safety and ease of use tests, indicating that price is not always a determinant of quality.
Ms Vlahomitros recommended that ECEC services and parents conduct research prior to purchasing child restraints, and not rely on product marketing.
“Safety doesn’t come at a price, and these results show us that the most expensive seat often isn’t the safest” Ms Vlahomitros said.
KidSafe NSW Executive Officer, Christine Erskine, said that whilst parents and ECEC professionals are “always wanting to do the right thing” there can be some confusion when it comes to the selection and safe use of child restraints.
“One of the most common grey areas is when to graduate a child into a booster seat or adult seat” Ms Erskine said. Welcoming the results from the latest round of evaluations, Ms Erskine said that the ease of use category was particularly useful for those in ECEC.
“If the seat comes with a high ease of use rating, it helps people share transportation duties with the peace of mind that children are safely secured”
CREP is a partnership between Transport for NSW, the NRMA, Royal Automobile Club of Victoria, Transport Accident Commission Victoria, VicRoads and Kidsafe Australia, with more information about the CREP program available here.