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CREP reveals the safest car seats for children

14 OCTOBER, 2014

Child seat

New Child Restraint Evaluation Program (CREP) ratings released today show that of 14 tested child restraints; only two models achieved a five-star protection rating while an additional six restraints received a four-star protection rating.

CREP awards each child restraint and booster seat a star rating for protection and ease of use, with five stars being the highest rating possible for each category.

The program supported by a group of government agencies and motoring organisations, including RACV, VicRoads and the Transport Accident Commission (TAC) helps parents to choose the safest restraint for their child.

Both the 'Mothers Choice Victory/Whirl' and the 'Cargo Marathon' booster seats achieved five stars for safety, however the 'Cargo Marathon' scored a very poor one star rating for safety when used as a forward facing restraint.

Most of the restraints tested were convertible/combination type restraints and as a result there are 24 new ratings this year.

RACV Manager Road User Behaviour, Melinda Spiteri said while all of the restraints tested met the Australian Standard, some restraints performed better than others in simulated crash tests.

"RACV urges all parents and carers to view the latest child car seat test results and see which models provide the best protection for their child.

"The website allows parents to compare the scientifically tested restraints and then evaluate protection scores, ease-of-use scores and dimensions.

"Those parents and carers who are unsure of how to fit a child restraint can visit one of RACV's fitting stations across Victoria to have the restraint installed by an expert – call 13 RACV or visit for details," Ms Spiteri said.

VicRoads Director, Vehicle and Road Use Policy James Holgate warned parents and carers that they were legally obliged to ensure all passengers were correctly restrained when travelling in a vehicle.

"All people travelling in a motor vehicle must be in a restraint that is properly fastened and adjusted whether it is a child restraint, booster seat or adult seatbelt."

TAC Senior Road Safety Manager, Samantha Cockfield said children were among our most vulnerable road users so it was important to know which child restraint models offered the greatest protection.

"Research shows that children who are restrained incorrectly are up to seven times more likely to be seriously injured in a crash than children who are restrained correctly," Ms Cockfield said. "During the five years to December 31 2013, 261 child passengers aged seven and under were seriously injured and 22 were killed on Victorian roads."

All of the restraints tested meet the 2010 Australian standard for child restraints. The revised 2013 standard for child restraints had not been approved at the time of testing.

CREP is supported by the Transport Accident Commission of Victoria (TAC), VicRoads, the Royal Automobile Club of Victoria (RACV), Transport for NSW's Centre for Road Safety, NRMA Motoring and Services and the Royal Automobile Club of Western Australia (RACWA). The full results are available from and parents and carers can now easily compare different models.

The road rules in Victoria require:

  • A child under 6 months of age to travel in a rearward facing child restraint with an inbuilt harness.
  • A child aged 6 months to under 4 years to travel in either a rearward facing or forward facing child restraint with an inbuilt harness. The type of child restraint will depend on the child's size.
  • A child aged 4 years to under 7 years to travel in either a forward facing child restraint with an inbuilt harness, or a booster seat. The type of restraint will depend on the child's size.
  • A child aged 7 years to under 16 years to travel in either a booster seat or an adult seatbelt. The type of restraint will depend on the child's size.A
  •  person 16 years and over to travel in an adult seatbelt.

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