FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

FAQ’s groups
1. Anchor provision.
2. Looseness of restraints.
3. Escaping toddlers.
4. Air bags.
5. Seat belts and Harnesses.
6. Car purchasing.
7. Choosing restraints or vehicle seat positions.
8. Tether strap difficulties.
9. Child restraint systems overviewed.

   
1. Anchor provision:
 
Q.   How do I find the correct anchor location in my vehicle?
  Check the owner’s handbook of your vehicle and follow the index carefully being sure that you are reading ‘Australian child restraint advice’ not international information.
  Failing the availability of an owner’s handbook, call the vehicle manufacturers distributor.
  Best advice is to always confirm the information in writing.
     
Q: Can the floor be drilled to move the anchor forward in my hatch wagon or people mover type vehicle?
  ONLY if you can be SURE that the seat frame and recliner mechanism will not collapse under the increased accident loadings. (Engineering approval is required).
     
Q: Can I have an anchor fitted to my Pre 1976 Sedan or other Pre ADR34 vehicle including commercials?
  In many cases, yes. But, not all. Always check with your local restraint fitting network or relevant road safety authority in your State or Territory to find out who could provide such modification services.
     
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2. Looseness of Restraints:
 
Q: Should the restraint move about?
  Ideally No. For a more satisfactory fitment and one, which is less likely to cause unnecessary injury to all passengers, we suggest a firm fitment.
  If you’ve followed the manufacturers’ instructions accurately, some movement may be present.
  If you’re unsure of your interpretation of the manufacturers instructions, Query any movement.
     
Q: What is the correct adjustment of my child’s harness?
  As tight and comfortable as possible. You should not be able to pinch a fold in a chest strap.
  No slack, No twists.
     
Q: Why do I need to bring towels? (For the fitting of my infant restraint)
  Most modern vehicle seats do not provide the required angle for baby’s safe and comfortable travel needs so we often need to ‘level off’ the restraint base. We may not need them but if we do and they’re in the car then we can our job properly.
     
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3. Escaping toddlers:
 
Q: How do I keep my child from getting out of his / her car seat harness?
  Firstly, check that the harness shoulder height is correct (Use the slots level or above top of the shoulders) and then check that the harness is tight enough.
  In extreme cases as a last resort try the ’Securap’ product.
  Your child needs to learn that car travels with out correct harness use is not an option.
     
Q: What is the correct adjustment of my child’s harness?
  As tight and comfortable as possible. You should not be able to pinch a fold in a chest strap.
  No slack, No twists.
     
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4. Air Bags:
 
Q: What’s the problem with air bags and children?
  Air bags are designed for an adult’s mass and may not provide an appropriate impact environment for children, So.
  Where there are side Air bags / curtains fitted, a child should not sleep with their head against the side of the car.
  Rearward facing restraints should never be used where there is a forward mounted air bag.
  Keep children away from air bag systems if you have any doubt.
  Check with vehicle manufacturers’ agent in regard to deactivation of an Air bag system if necessary.
     
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5. Seat belts / Harnesses:
 
Q: What is a ‘Lap’ Seat belt?
  A Seat belt that only holds the passengers into the vehicle by the hips, that is, it runs across the lap.
  A Lap only belt should only be used with booster systems if a ‘H’ Harness is used as well. Never on its own!
  The easiest type of belt to use for child restraint systems. NB: Must be an anchor location available!
     
Q: What is a ‘Lap Sash’ Seat belt?
  A Seat belt that offers the passenger upper body restraint as well as holding them into the vehicle by the hips. This is because the belt runs across the shoulder area as well as the lap.
  The best type of Seat belt to use for upper body restraint. BUT!
  Ensure the ‘Sash section’ of belt does not contact the wearers face or neck. Guide it away over the shoulder. NB: This is not a Comfort issue, this is a Safety issue! Comfort sleeves are not sash guiding devices.
      
Q: What is a statically locking ‘Lap Sash’ Seat belt?
  These are found in many modern cars, mainly Toyotas, Subaru’s and some European vehicles. It’s a ‘Lap Sash’ Seat belt that can have a locking mechanism activate while the vehicle is stationary. It is activated by extending the belt to its full extent from the retractor mechanism and then allowing the belt to rewind. Often (but not always) an audible locking or ‘clicking’ noise can be heard as it retracts. This offers extra protection from the child playing with and extending the belt away from themselves and or the restraint coming loose.
  Ideal for booster use.
  Creates difficulty if not impossibility with ‘H’ Harness use.
     
Q: What is a harness?
  A Harness is a safety restraint constructed from belt webbing / straps. There are a number of styles.
  ‘5 point Safety Harness’ is constructed into a child restraint offering two upper body / shoulder straps, crutch and waist straps, usually connecting at the waist through a buckle.
  A ‘H’ Harness is an additional device that is used with a seat belt at the lap area. It needs to connect with the child restraint anchorage as well.
  A ‘Protecta’ harness is a relatively new device that works similarly to a ‘H’ harness except that the adjustment is in front of the child, secured under a cover. ( Benefit: Fits where the anchor is very close to the car seat i.e.; ‘short hook up’ situations)
     
Q: What is the correct adjustment of my child restraint harness? (Not applicable to ‘H’ or Protecta Harness applications)
  As tight and comfortable as possible. You should not be able to pinch a fold in a chest strap.
  No slack, No twists.
     
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6. Car purchasing:
 
Q: Which car is best for multiple child restraints?
  The friendliest vehicles for multiple restraints must have these criteria’s considered.
  Check for the most internal width (measure with doors closed).
  The seat must have the least amount of contouring in both the base and squab.
  The seat belt buckles must have left to right flexibility and not be stiffly fitted or trimmed into the seat cushion.
  Ensure you have enough anchor locations. (Check handbook for confirmation)
   
Download a ‘Choose a suitable vehicle guideline fact sheet'
     
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7. Choosing restraints or vehicle seat positions.
 
Q: Which is the safest position in the car for my baby / child?
  The centre rear (of a normal 5 seater vehicle) is the statistically safest position, but, how does this position impact on your: -
  Driving position?
  Own well being, like your back?
  Other passenger’s safe access?
  And does the vehicle have the correct equipment fitted to the position to do the job correctly? (Such as an anchorage location or seat belt.)
     
Q: How old does my child have to be before they can sit in the front seat?
  The interpretation of the law may vary in different states and usually relate to size and weight not age, but what matters most is the passengers’ level of safety. The ‘safest’ answers are.
  Children should always travel in the rear seats if possible
  Keep children away from air bag positions if possible.
      
Q: How old does my baby / child have to be to move from a ‘car seat to a booster’?
  The law refers to size and weight and on that basis 14kgs is deemed as a legal entry, but what matters most is the passengers’ level of safety. The ‘safest’ answers are.
  Keep your child in the restraint suitable for their size and weight till they grow out of it if you can.
  Using a height of 1 Metre may be a more appropriate gauge for safe booster entry.
  If you need to use a booster at the 14kg ‘entry level’ using a ‘H’ harness (if your vehicle will allow it) may offer an increased level of protection.
     
Q: When is my child too tall for the restraint I’m using?
  Whiplash and head injury protection is the aim for all forward facing restraint systems, so always make sure that the child’s eye level is not above the back of the child restraint. (Applies to booster use as well)
     
Q: Why does my baby have to travel rearward facing?
  It’s safer to spread the forces of an accident across a fully supported back than be suspended in a harness. Additionally, a baby’s head is largely unsupported and vulnerable.
     
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8. Tether strap difficulties:
 
Q: Do I need to remove the luggage cover if it interferes with the tether strap in the back of my hatch?
  Ideally, you want keep the cover in place for luggage retention. However your tether strap needs to be in a straight a line as possible. Cutting a small tether access hole in the cover may be an appropriate solution.
     
Q: How do I deal with the tether strap when it interferes with the luggage in the back of my hatch?
  Tether routing is the priority, always make sure that the luggage is forward against the seat back and the tether is to take a straight a line as possible from anchor to the restraint or top of the vehicles’ seat.
     
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9. Child restraint systems overviewed:
 
  Infant Restraints 
Infant restraints are of the type that face the baby toward the rear of the vehicle and lays them on their back. There are two types currently available:
  1. Dedicated 'infant restraints' such as below:
'Safe'n'Sound’ -
(i) Baby safety capsule, (ii) Unity Baby Carrier (Travel System).
‘Baby Love’ -
(i) Primo (Travel System)
and
  2. Convertible restraints (ie: Infant to child of 18kgs):
These are a type of restraint which has the ability to convert between infant and child restraint formats. They are available in two different rating categories. (They are rated the same for the forward facing child restraint aspect i.e.; up to 18kgs). The rearward facing aspect may be rated to 9kgs maximum or 12kgs maximum. There are too many to list them all here, but are made by these manufacturers:
‘Safe’n’Sound’ - Both 9 and 12 kg varieties.
‘Baby Love’ - 12 kg variety.
‘IGC’ -9 kg variety. Branded by Mothers Choice, Go Safe, Aunger and Fisher Price.
These are a popular purchase choice, but can be more difficult to configure and install. They are often (but not always) more expensive. So careful thought about the amount of time you will actually need an infant restraint for is suggested. Hiring an infant restraint instead of buying may be an option. Be aware that the more expensive choices are not necessarily safer than the less expensive unless you take the 12 kg rearward facing rating aspect and the Safe and Sound ‘AHR’ (Active Head Restraint) technology into account. It’s also important to connect with the reality that no matter how much you spend on your child’s safety equipment, if it is not fitted and used correctly on a daily basis, juniors’ safety will be at risk.
 
  Child Restraints
Child restraints are forward facing 'child seats' or 'car seats' which are secured to the vehicle and also come in two types. Both types incorporate a '5 point' harness system that secures the child and are used for children from 8kgs up to 18kgs. See (*) for size guideline which applies to
  1. Dedicated 'child restraints' currently available as below:
'Safe'n'Sound’ (i) Series 3, (ii) Cosi, (iii) Discovery Plus
‘Baby Love’ (i) Toddler Rider
and
  2. Convertible child restraints (ie: 8-18kg Child Seat to Booster) currently available:
'Safe'n'Sound’ (i) Maxi Rider
The convertible types can be used from 8kgs up to 18kgs with an integral harness and up to 26kgs when used with a Lap/Sash Seat belt and / or a harness on some models (Clarification is necessary to determine suitability). NB: They must be anchored at all times.
 
  ‘Booster seats'
Booster seats are for forward facing applications only and are available in several types as well.
  1. Boosters with back and side support. (Too many available to list here) and are usually used for these reasons.
I. To increase 'side impact' safety. (Only Boosters with backs)
2. To provide better support / comfort for a sleeping child.
3. To isolate the child from the seat belt buckle.
4. To allow better positioning of the sash section of the seat belt across the upper body.
5. To position the child upwards to allow better viewing. (See * below)
  2. Boosters without any back or side support usually used for these reasons.
1. To allow better positioning of the sash section of the seat belt across the upper body.
2. To position the child upwards to allow better viewing. (See * below)
3. To isolate the child from the seat belt buckle.
(*) Being able to ‘see out’ can sometimes contribute to juniors’ contentment, and therefore less likely that they fidget and squirm about or tamper with the seat belt buckle. In this context ‘seeing out’ is a safety factor.
  Again, like many child restraint systems they are widely misused and for some applications may offer better protection if used with a 'H'Harness. NB: Many modern vehicles are not 'H' Harness friendly.
 
  ‘H'Harness
Unfortunately these are also often misused, especially when it comes to the fitting of a 'gated buckle' (which is used to create a lap seat belt from a lap/sash seat belt). It's important to follow the gated buckle instructions very closely. NB: It must not be able to slide along the seat belt or it is fitted incorrectly and it must also be placed in a position that disallows contact with the child's body.
 
  Convertible Restraints
As discussed above in (a. 2) and (b. 2)
 
  Seat Belts
as discussed above in FAQ 5.
 
  Selection Chart
This application chart may help you in choosing an appropriate restraint
 
Weight
of
Child
Age
Range
(Approx)
Newborn
to
9kgs
Newborn
to
18kgs
8kgs
to
18kgs
8kgs
to
26kgs
14kgs
to
26kgs
14kgs
to
32kgs
Birth Birth
A TYPE

Infant Only

Capsule

A/B TYPE

0-4 or Convertible
       
8kgs 4 to 12 months
B TYPE

'Child Seat'

B/E TYPE

Child Seat to Booster
   
9kgs 5 to 12 months    
14kgs 18mths to 3 years  
E TYPE

Booster

C TYPE

Harness
18kgs 2 1/2 to 5 years  
26kgs 5 to 8 years

NB: If the straps of a restraint come from below shoulder height more than 2cm and or the child's eye level is above the back of the restraint, it's time for junior to move on.

up to
32kgs
6 to 12 years

NB: A child needs to move out of a booster when they have reached the weight limit or when their eye level is above the back rest of the seat, head restraint or booster top. Remember we are looking for ‘whiplash' protection.

     
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