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Some Of The Most Expensive Child Seats Found To Be The Least Safe

Parents who are spending more on car restraints in a bid to ensure their child's safety could be wasting their money, according to new safety tests conducted by the NRMA.

The results of the latest car restraints safety testing from the NRMA and their partner organisations -- Transport for NSW, Royal Automobile Club of Victoria, Transport Accident Commission Victoria, VicRoads and Kidsafe Australia, -- were released on Thursday.

Crash testing was carried out by road safety experts on 13 seat types across nine different brands.

While all complied with the minimum Australian safety standard, they varied widely in the quality of protection they provided.

Not one of the child restraints tested scored a full five stars, and it turns out paying more money doesn't always guarantee more safety.

IMAGE: supplied

One seat scored less than two stars for protection, and four booster seats scored more than four stars for protection.

The most expensive car seat in one category is not even close to being the safest.

READ MORE: 'Child Seat' Slammed By Police For Lack Of Safety

The top scoring booster seat this year retails for around $99. Many other boosters previously tested with lower safety ratings can retail for upwards of $500.

IMAGE: Supplied

NRMA’s Road Safety Expert, Dimitra Vlahomitros, urged parents to do some research if they wanted to find the safest and most affordable restraints, not rely on product marketing.

“You can actually score a bargain and score a safe seat by looking around,” Vlahomitros said.

Safety doesn’t come at a price and these results show us that the most expensive seat isn’t often the safest.
The Results

Rear-facing

WINNER: The safest rear-facing car seat that was tested was the Britax Safe N Sound Graphene which retails for about $438

LOSER: The lowest ranked rear-facing in this test was the Infasecure Neon II which retails at $199.

Forward-facing

WINNER: The safest ranked forward-facing seat was the Infasecure - Rover Convertible Booster Car Seat which retails for $149

LOSER: The lowest ranked was the Britax Safe N Sound Graphene which retails for about $438

Booster

WINNER: The highest ranked booster seat in terms of safety is the Mother's Choice Trinity Unharnessed Booster Seat which retails for $99

LOSER: The lowest ranked was the Safety 1st Solo which retails at $179.

Vlahomitros said choosing the correct child seat was a crucially important -- at times life-saving -- decision to make.

“A car seat is one of the first and last pieces of baby equipment a parent will purchase that will be used every day for several years and can be one of the most important,” Vlahomitros said.

Tips For Purchasing A Child Restraint
  • Shop around to find the right price
  • Ensure your seat is professionally installed, and ask the installer to show you how to do it yourself in case it needs to be moved from car to car
  • Be wary of purchasing a second-hand seat: make sure you know its full history; check the manufacturer's sticker to make sure it is less than 10 years old; don’t use if straps or harness are frayed, and check for any obvious signs of wear or tear
  • Familiarise yourself with the national Child Restraint Laws
  • Full information on ratings and restraint fitting stations can be found at www.childcarseats.com.au

READ MORE: Australia's Most Common Car Accidents Revealed State-By-State

Contact the author alattouf@networkten.com.au