MACA analysis on 15 different seats yields interesting findings for ECEC transport
The Sector > Research > Allied Fields > MACA analysis on 15 different seats yields interesting findings for ECEC transport

MACA analysis on 15 different seats yields interesting findings for ECEC transport

by Freya Lucas

November 08, 2022

Early childhood education and care (ECEC) services who educate and care for children with disabilities may be interested in recent findings from Mobility and Accessibility for Children in Australia Ltd (MACA) about the best specialised car seats for children with disabilities and medical conditions.


Special purpose car seats are used by some children with disabilities and medical conditions, such as cerebral palsy and autism, who are unable to travel in ‘off the shelf’ seats.


The specialised car seats offer an extensive range of features and optional accessories not available on Australian standard car seats, and also cater for older and larger children.


This could include extra postural support, anti-escape options, or swivel bases to help parents with getting children in and out of the car.


MACA has completed 54 sled-crash tests on 15 different car seats as part of its Australian Safety Assessment Program (AuSAP) which was launched with funding from the Transport Accident Commission (TAC) and in-kind support from Britax Childcare and Neuroscience Research Australia, while the car seat industry donated special purpose car seats for testing.


MACA has used the findings to launch a national register of special purpose car seats, where, for the first time, families and the allied health professionals who support them can find independent safety information about each product, which may also be of use to the ECEC sector.


The car seats are imported and all meet overseas standards, but AuSAP tested them against selected criteria from Australia’s more rigorous standard – the same standard that ‘off the shelf’ car seats must comply with in Australia.


Of the 15 special purpose car seats that were crash tested, eight have been published on MACA’s national product register. A number of products are undergoing further investigation and/or testing, while some have been withdrawn from the Australian market.


As a result of the information gained through the AuSAP some Australian suppliers have elected to increase their range of products which means families will soon have access to a wider range of suitable special purpose car seats.


MACA Chief Executive Helen Lindner said there was an undeniable need for special purpose car seats in the market, but it was critical to have more independent information about their performance.


“Until now there has been no independent evaluation program in Australia – or globally – for special purpose car seats used by children with disabilities and medical conditions, leaving so many families facing a concerning lack of information,” she said.


“MACA launched AuSAP to provide families with more independent information about the strengths and limitations of special purpose car seats when it comes to safety. The findings will also help to improve product design and increase the range of products sold in Australia.”


The research is of profound importance given that children with disabilities are particularly vulnerable car passengers.


To learn more about AuSAP and access the national product register, visit

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