MISUSE 1: FORWARD-FACING TOO SOON
At Hire for Baby & Baby Restraint Fitters, we believe that children should travel rear-facing for as long as possible – ideally until they are at least two years old and their developing neck muscles have grown stronger. Rear-facing restraints protect the neck and head by distributing the force of a frontal collision along the back of the seat. We believe that a less exciting view for a little person is a small compromise if it provides a safer ride!
MISUSE 2: LOOSE HARNESS STRAPS
We know that some children don’t like being strapped in too tightly, but we do recommend that you keep the harness nice and snug. A perfect harness sits comfortably in a straight line without sagging and doesn’t allow any slack. To make sure the harness is snug enough, try the simple Pinch Test. See our 10 Quick Child Restraint Checks Infographic below.
Click here to download your free 10 Quick Child Restraint Checks.
MISUSE 3: INCORRECT HARNESS STRAP HEIGHT
All children are different and grow at different rates. That’s why it’s important for you to keep an eye on how the harness height fits their body. For the best protection in case of a crash, the tops of the harness straps should be located as follows:
- Rearward Facing: The shoulder straps must be positioned in slots which are nearest to the child’s shoulders, but not lower than the child’s shoulders.
- Forward Facing one: The shoulder straps must be in the slots which are nearest to the child’s shoulders, but not more than 25 mm below the child’s shoulders.
but for sure swap the position of the wording above, see arrows.
Image source from Britax Australia
MISUSE 4: LOOSE CAR SEAT INSTALLATION
We know that a child restraint can only protect your child if it has been installed securely. A securely installed child restraint should not move more than a few cms side-to-side or front-to-back at the belt path. If you have trouble installing your child restraint securely, we suggest that you try the following:
- Try installing the child restraint in another seating position in your vehicle. For example, if you can’t install it securely in the rear centre seat, try an outboard position.
- Consider seeking help from a Professional Restraint Fitter.
MISUSE 5: NOT USING THE TOP TETHER CORRECTLY
A top tether strap prevents the child restraint from rotating forward in the event of a crash and is tested for strength. The Tether tension should simply have the tension removed and should never be over tighten as it may impact the angle and cause the child restraint to lift from the the base of the installation.
MISUSE 6: INSTALLING REAR-FACING AT THE WRONG ANGLE
When children are rear-facing in a child restraint, it’s important for the seat to be installed in a reclined position to help keep baby’s head and neck supported, and airways clear. The recline angle is especially important for young infants who are still developing head and neck control. So when you’re installing your little one’s child restraint, be sure to refer to the user guide or labels on the side of the restraint and install the restraint at the recline angle indicated.
MISUSE 7: USING A PRE-OWNED CHILD RESTRAINT
We believe it’s important for every family to make smart choices that fit their unique needs and lifestyle. But when it comes to pre-owned child restraints, we encourage you to use caution. For your child’s safety, as well as your own peace of mind, we recommend using a pre-owned child restraint ONLY if you can answer all of the following questions: Has the child restraint been in a crash? Has it been recalled? Are the user guide and all parts and pieces present? Are all the labels attached?
MISUSE 8: USING AN EXPIRED CHILD RESTRAINT
We believe that when you put your child in a child restraint, you should be able to trust that it will provide the best protection possible during a crash. We know that environmental factors like sunlight and heat can cause the materials in a child restraint to degrade over time, so we recommend replacing child restraints, as or before, they expire. Most Australian child restraints have a product life between 10 years, depending on the model. This information can usually be found on a label on the child restraint or in the user guide.
Words sourced from Britax Australia
KNOW FOR SURE. GET IT DONE RIGHT.
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