Not one of the six units evaluated in the latest round of Australia's Child Restraint Evaluation Program (CREP) testing achieved the maximum 5-star rating.
All of the restraints achieved between 2- and 4-star ratings for safety, with one of the ‘transformable’ seats rising from 3- to 4-stars when switched from rear-facing to forward-facing.
CREP evaluates child restraints for safety, but ease of use is also considered. Ratings for ease of use ranged from 2-4 stars.
Two of the restraints tested featured the ISOFIX fitment extensions, but despite the additional safety feature, they could only manage a maximum of 3- or 4-star ratings.
ISOFIX is slowly becoming common place in new models on the Australian market, and also in new child restraints sitting on baby store shelves. It enables easier fitment of child seats without the use of an adult seatbelt.
CREP is supported by Australian road safety bodies and state organisations, along with peak motoring groups.
At least one of those groups - Victoria’s RACV - has called for child restraint manufacturers to “work harder” to lift their results to the full 5-star rating.
“RACV is disappointed that none of the child restraints tested most recently achieved a 5-star safety rating,” RACV’s Melinda Spiteri said.
“While all of the restraints met the Australian Standard, some performed better than others in crash tests. We urge all parents and carers to view the latest child car seat test results and see which models provide the best protection for their child.”
Ms Spiteri said carers should also ensure that child restraints are fitted correctly, or visit an authorised fitting station to have the seat fitted by an expert.
The RACV also urged parents and guardians to familiarise themselves with the laws surrounding child restraints, and at which age children should progress from one type of restraint to the next.
Samantha Cockfield from Victoria’s Transport Accident Commission (TAC) agreed, saying more than 500 children were killed around the world each day as the result of road trauma.
In 2015, CREP has changed its testing regime from a single, annual test to several tests per year with a small number of child restraints in each evaluation.
For detailed results, see the Child Car Seats website (opens in new window).
MORE: Buckle Me Up - Australian Invention Aims To Reduce Child Injuries
MORE News & Reviews: Children | Safety | RACV
RESULTS - Safety
Chicco Keyfit Plus - rearward - 4 stars
Nuna Pipa - rearward - 4 stars
Steelcraft Strider - rearward - 3 stars
Infa Secure Cosi compact - rearward - 3-stars (forward - 4-stars)
Safe-n-Sound Trufix - ISOFIX forward - 4-stars
Maxi-Cosi Euro - ISOFIX rearward - 3-stars (forward - 2-stars)