Specialist crash restraints for children with disabilities being tested in Vic
A world first program initiated by the Victorian Government is crash testing specialised child restraints used by children with disabilities and medical conditions to shed more light on their safety performance.
“This program is the first of its kind globally and will give Victorians greater knowledge and options on how best to protect their loved ones,” Victorian Minister for Roads Ben Carroll said.
The findings of the tests will be of interest to those in the early childhood education and care (ECEC) sector who transport children with the testing program aiming to provide the first national information about the safety and performance of special purpose child restraints for children with disabilities and medical conditions.
While imported special purpose child restraints all comply with one or more overseas standards, there is limited independent information and advice available about their safety performance and how they stack up against the rigorous Australian Child Restraint Standard.
Nine special purpose child restraints imported and sold in Australia will undergo frontal and side impact crash tests at the Britax Childcare Crash Test Facility Laboratory in Melbourne’s west as part of the Australian Safety Assessment Program (AuSAP) as part of the initiative.
Special purpose child restraints are used by children with disabilities and medical conditions including cerebral palsy and autism who are often unable to travel in standard Australian child seats. MACA’s national research also shows that children with disabilities and medical conditions continue to be inappropriately restrained in vehicles, adding to the ongoing road safety challenges.
Mobility and Accessibility for Children in Australia Ltd (MACA) has launched AuSAP with funding from the Transport Accident Commission (TAC) and in-kind support from Britax Childcare and Neuroscience Research Australia.
The AuSAP findings will be translated into practical advice and information for allied health professionals to guide best practice prescribing and use of each restraint. AuSAP also aims to expand safe vehicle restraint options by making it easier for organisations to supply and promote products to the Australian market.
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