CAR SEAT FITTING FAQs...
At the Baby Barn we are asked many questions about child restraints every day. Here is a small sample and some answers to them. If your question is not here, ring or pay us a visit at the Baby Barn.
Q: How can I make an appointment for a car seat fitting?
A: Please call us on 0755245407 to arrange an appointment Monday to Friday. (Limited availability on Saturday and an additional fee applies.)
Q: Can I fit my baby’s car seat myself?
A: Yes, you can but fitting a child restraint correctly is not as easy as it seems. Baby Barn fitters find that 95% of restraints brought to us for inspection are fitted incorrectly.
Q: Should I hire a capsule or buy one?
A: It is easy to hire a capsule from the Baby Barn for a reasonable price. Fitting is by appointment and an RTA certificate is issued.
Q: Will 6 months be enough for a capsule hire?
A: Capsules are recommended up to 9kg/70cm in length. Some bigger babies may outgrow a capsule early and need to move to a reversible seat. Some parents may need a capsule for longer and this is easily arranged.
Q: Should I make an appointment to fit a capsule or car seat?
A: Making an appointment is appreciated. Fitting device between 2 to 4 weeks before you may need it is advised.
Q: Can I fit a car seat or booster in the front seat?
A: The front seat can only be used for a restraint if there is no rear position to use. The front seat can never be used in NSW if there is a front passenger airbag and in QLD only with a forward facing restraint.
Q: Can I fit an anchor bolt myself?
A: Yes. Provided you are sure you have found the factory provided anchor point and not a luggage tie down. If you are not sure do not proceed and call Baby Barn.
Q: Are all child restraints the same?
A: No. Some restraints are easier to fit CORRECTLY than others and tests indicate some offer greater levels of protection.
Q: When should I turn my 0-4 seat around forward facing?
A: It is recommended for a child to remain rear facing for as long as possible. In heavy braking there is not as much load on the neck in the rear facing position. The earliest a child should be turned around is 9 months if they have good neck stength and reach the height indicator.
Q: If my car or ute has only 2 fitting points, can I have another?
A: Sometimes, but modifications must be made by an Authorised Fitting Station by law.
Q: What type of child car seats are available in Australia?
A: Australian child car seats fall under these type categories as listed below:
- Type A1 - Rearward-facing (RF) restraint for babies up to 6 months*.
- Type A2 - Rearward-facing (RF) restraint for babies up to 12 months*.
- Type A1/B - Convertible forward-facing restraint, for babies up to 6 months* in rearward-facing mode then for toddlers up to 4 years* in forward-facing mode.
- Type A2/B - Convertible forward-facing restraint for babies up to 12 months* in rearward-facing mode then for toddlers up to 4 years* in forward-facing mode.
- Type A4/B - Convertible forward-facing restraint for babies up to 36 months (3 years)* in rearward-facing mode then for toddlers up to 4 years* in forward-facing mode.
- Type A1/B/E - Convertible restraint, for babies up to 6 months* in rearward-facing mode then for toddlers up to 4 years* in forward-facing mode and for older children up to 8 years* in booster seat mode.
- Type B - Forward-facing (FF) restraint.
- Type B/E - Convertible booster seat.
- Type E - Booster seat.
Q: Where can I get more information?
A: If you live in NSW – Call Road and Traffic Authority on 1800 042 865 or NRMA on 02 92 92 96 32 or go to www.childcarseats.com.au/legal-requirements
RMS Certificate Issued
From March 1, 2010, all children up to the age of seven years must be correctly restrained in an approved child restraint, suitable for their size and age. In vehicles with two or more rows of seats:
Q: Why are there new child restraint laws?
A: New child restraint laws are needed to help keep young children safe as passengers. High numbers of children are injured and even killed when travelling in cars. In NSW, almost 500 children under seven years old are passenger casualties each year. Australia wide, the numbers are over 4,000 each year.
Q: What should families know about approved child restraints suitable for children up to seven years of age?
A: For children who are:
- Younger than six months – Rearward facing restraints
- Between six months and four years – Either rear or forward facing restraints
- Between four and seven years – Forward facing child restraints or booster seats
Q: Why do the new child restraint laws refer to size and age?
A: Specifying child restraints by age is easier for families and carers to comply with and will result in fewer children being inappropriately restrained. However, children of the same age restrained. However, children of the same age can vary considerably in size – so children who are too physically big for the recommended restraint may be graduated to the next Restraint level, providing they are still properly restrained. Standards Australia is changing the child restraint standards to ensure that nearly all children in the specified age groups will fit into the specified type of restraints.
Q: How will families know if their children’s restraints are correctly fitted?
A: RMS Authorised Fitting Stations can check and fit child restraints.
Q: So, what’s wrong with seatbelts?
A: Seatbelts are designed to fit adult males. Young children put in adult seatbelts are at increased risk of serious injury or being killed than those restrained in approved child restraints suitable for their size and age.
Q: When should I turn my babies’ car seat from rear facing to forward facing?
A: Australian law allows a child to be forward facing from six month old but as a recent highly publicised incident highlights this is not best practice. A mother with a one year old child in rear facing position and a 2 year old forward facing was in an accident. The one year old was fine but the 2 year old sustained serious neck injury.
A babies or childs head is larger in mass and weight in relation to its torso when compared to an adult. In a correctly fitted rear facing restraint a child’s neck is supported and safeguarded in the event of an impact.
With a forward facing position of course the larger head is more vulnerable to the whiplash effect of a sudden deceleration.
When it comes to baby car seat fitting the Baby Barn Authorised Fitters always recommend a child be left as long as it practicable in reverse position to benefit from the safer characteristics which this bestows.
The 2013 Australian Standards display height indicators when it is allowable to turn a child to forward facing instead of relying solely on age.
The best of the new generation of A4 type convertible car seats such as the Safe N Sound Platinum Pro, Millennia and Slimm-Line have extended height indicators and have been tested for children to about 3 years of age to remain in rear facing position should you wish.
To summarise it is legally allowable to seat a child in forward facing from 6 months of age but a child staying in rear facing longer will be much safer.
Q: When can my child move to a booster seat or can I leave my child in their car seat after 4?
A: Australian Law says a child must be in a harnessed seat until 4 years of age. Many children of this age are too small to be in a booster seat which is why the Australian Standards Board for Child Restraints introduced torso length/ shoulder height indicators into the 2010 Standard.
Children of the same age can be wildly different in weight and height. Convertible car seats have traditionally been made for children from birth till 4 or 18 kilos. Some children are either too small or too big for a seat with these limitations.
Parents are often dismayed to see how much movement is in a booster seat after using a correctly fitted car seat but leaving a child taller than the height indicators allow will not make them safer.
A tethered booster cannot come free in an accident and will be safer than an untethered booster. Do not use a ‘bum booster’ or booster cushion as there is no back support or side impact protection.
G Type Seats
In September 2014 the new Australian Standards for child restraints allowed the introduction of an extended forward facing G Type seat. These forward facing child restraints will allow your child to be in a secure internally harnessed seat till approximately 8 years of age.
It is safer to have smaller children in G Type seats as they have an inbuilt harness and supporting mechanisms are internally strengthened to accommodate a child as they grow taller and heavier. Also, unlike booster seats G Type seats have no possibility of the seat belt being near the child’s neck.
The best G Type seats should have easy height adjustments like the Safe N Sound Maxi Guard seats and the Infa Evolve.