Having kids myself, I am super aware of their safety when it comes to being around a car and driving. The sad truth is that children die and are seriously injured in and around cars each year.
We’ve compiled the following tips to help protect your precious cargo.
Top safety tips
- Never leave children unattended in a car. Because they have smaller bodies, children can suffer from heat stroke in a much shorter time than adults. Kids have also been known to release handbrakes which can clearly have pretty serious consequences.
- Always check before you reverse. Cameras and sensors on cars are much more common, and while they’re a great help, you should always check your mirrors and the environment more generally before you reverse. You may not see a fast moving bicycle or scooter rider.
- Never leave the car idling in a closed space like a garage. This can result in carbon monoxide poisoning.
- Always keep an eye on your children while washing a car. A child can drown in something as small as a bucket.
- Always lock your car and keep the key out of reach of children.
- Teach your children from an early age not to play in and around your car.
- When at a shopping centre car park, always put your children in the car before your shopping.
Children must always be suitably restrained in a car. There are safe ways of restraining your child dependent on age, but weight and height are the most important factors. Each State and Territory has legislation regarding child restraints, our tips are based on NSW regulations.
Here are the key things you need to remember about child restraints:
- Some vehicles have a centre sash belt, which is less safe than a three-point seat belt. Use this type where possible.
- Always use a child restraint that has been approved by the Australian Standards.
- Ensure that the restraint is fitted properly. According to NSW’s Roads and Maritime Services 80% of child restraints are not fitted properly. Always follow instructions or use an authorised fitting station.
- Make sure that the seat belts are fitted correctly. Teach your child not to slip the belt under their arm. Always have a good amount of tension, don’t have the seat belt too lose as a child can slip out in a collision.
- Never fit a child restraint in the front passenger seat when an air bag is functional.
- If a child is too small for a restraint specified for their age, they should be kept in a previous level of restraint for as long as necessary.
- If a child is too large for a restraint specified for their age, they may move to the next level of restraint.
- A child younger than four years cannot travel in the front seat of a vehicle with two or more rows.
- Children aged four years to less than seven years cannot travel in the front seat of a vehicle with two or more rows, unless all other back seats are occupied by children younger than seven years in a child restraint or booster seat.
Child Restraint Laws in NSW
Younger than six months
Must be secured in a rearward facing restraint
Aged six months to less than four years
Must be secured in either a rear or forward facing restraint
Aged four years to less than seven years
Must be secured in forward facing child restraint or booster seat