Child safety seats designed to the international ISOFIX standard can now legally be sold in Australia, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has confirmed this week.
The news follows the announcement in 2013 that the anchorage system had at last been approved under the Australian Standard for Child Restraints (AS/NZS 1754:2013).
Importantly for buyers, the system has become increasingly common in new models offered in Australia, with many brands introducing compatible models in anticipation of the new law.
Australia’s approval of the ISOFIX system comes 16 years after its introduction in Europe, and 11 years after it was adopted for the US market.
The revised standard allows for child seats to be secured both by the existing seatbelt-based methods, or by the ISOFIX system that sees suitably designed seats connected through slots in the rear passenger seat and latched to anchor points behind.
“The ISOFIX attachments allow the seat to clip into two rigid or flexible ISOFIX lower anchorage points at the back car seat, restricting the amount of movement between the child seat and the belt clip in the event of a crash,” the ACCC said in a statement today.
ISOFIX seats sold in Australia must however meet a specific localised version of the rules, which requires a top tether anchorage to be included.
"Unlike some overseas systems, the (Australian) standard will still require the use of top tether straps for child restraints, in addition to the mechanism for attaching the seat to the car at its base,” Standards Australia CEO Colin Blair said.
“The use of a top tether strap has been a requirement of the standard since it was first published.”
This means that existing ISOFIX seats offered in overseas markets cannot be sold in Australia, but brands such as Maxi Cosi and Britax Safe-n-Sound have already announced a range of units compatible with the Australian rules.
Holden, one of a number of brands whose cars are equipped for the ISOFIX system, has also confirmed it has worked with Britax on a range of child seats designed specifically for Holden models.
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