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3 Ways To Ensure Your Child's Safety When Travelling By car

by Naomi Lewis

Car accidents are one of the leading causes of injury and death for children in Australia. That is why it's vital to use the right safety restraint in your vehicle if you use it to transport children. Australia has tough guidelines for safety restraints and all products on the market must meet Australian standards. However, if they are incorrectly installed or used in the wrong way, your children may not be properly protected in the unfortunate event of a car accident. Here are three things you can do to ensure your child is travelling as safely as possible.

1. Have your safety restraint professionally installed

Safety restraints can be fairly complicated to install correctly, especially if you don't have experience. This is why it's highly recommended that you have them fitted by an accredited installer. There are organisations which specialise in car seat fitting and they sometimes charge a small fee for installation. Many motor clubs also offer this service free of charge for members.

When you attend the appointment to have your child safety restraint fitted, it's worth taking along a couple of old bath towels. Due to the varying shape and incline of different car seats, the fitter will sometimes need to pad the seat to make sure the restraint is firmly and securely installed.

2. Choose the right restraint for your child's height and weight

All child safety restraints available in Australia come with a minimum and maximum weight and height limits. It's vital that your chosen child restraint is suitable for your child's size and that it isn't too big or small.

A restraint that is too big may not hold the child securely if there is a collision. A restraint that is too small may not provide adequate protection either, especially if your child's head is higher than the top of the restraint.

3. Use the seat correctly

Even a professionally installed car restraint that is the right size won't perform properly if it isn't used correctly. The most common ways that they're used incorrectly are to do with the position and fit of the safety harness.

Child safety restraints come with an adjustable five-point harness. The straps of the harness need to adjusted so that they are fitted above your child's shoulder height. Straps should never be twisted and must always hold your child in snugly. The straps should be checked and adjusted each time you put your car in the child restraint, as different items of clothing can make the straps fit more tightly or looser on different days.

As a parent, you naturally want to do the best you can to protect your child from harm. Proper installation and use of a safety restraint in your vehicle is one of the most important ways that you can do this while travelling on the road.