Expert Advice

Road safety experts reveal the most and least protective child car seats in Australia

Only ONE child's car seat out of 22 sold in Australia scored top marks for protection in crash test.

Surprising results have surfaced from NSW's Crashlab, the government's testing laboratory, after tests took place to determine the protection quality of children's car seats sold in Australia.

During tests on 22 children's car seats, NSW's Crashlab scored only one child seat with maximum five-star protection against traumatic injuries to the head, neck and torso in a head-on collision at nearly 60km/h.

The Sydney Morning Herald reports, the top seat was the Nuna Kilk (rear-facing) child seat which proved to provide the best protection in the head-on, side and oblique crash tests at speeds ranging from 56km/h to 32km/h.

Only four car seats of the 22 tested received four stars for protection.

Six car seats, of varying price points, scored one star. They included the $399 Maxi-Cosi Luna forward-facing seat, the Infa-Secure Kompressor 4 rear-facing child seat, and the $169 Babylove Cosmic 11 forward-facing seat.

This year, NSW's Crashlab introduced a tougher star rating system. The five stars measure by how much the car seats exceed the national safety standard.

Out of the 22 tested child seats by NSW's Crashlab, the Nuna Kilk (rear-facing) seat was the only one to score a 5-star rating for protection.
Out of the 22 tested child seats by NSW's Crashlab, the Nuna Kilk (rear-facing) seat was the only one to score a 5-star rating for protection.

As well as protection, ease of use was also tested, and the results came up even worse. How easily a child's car seat is fitted can determine if a car seat is installed correctly or not and therefore how well the seat will protect a child in the case of an accident.

Not one of the 22 seats tested received five stars. Most only scored two stars. The only child seat to score four stars for ease of use was the Safe-N-Sound kid guard pro booster seat, which also got four stars for protection.

The NSW Minister for Roads Melinda Pavey said that every seat on the market met Australia's high standards.

"If they were unsafe, we would call it out, but some prove to be better than others," she added.

*Source NSW Government Crashlab*
Source NSW Government Crashlab

While most parents are using the right car seat for their child, many are not installing them correctly.

A recent study by Neuroscience Research Australia (NeuRA), which watched on as parents read manuals and then attempted to install and fit a child-size mannequin in a rear-facing seat, found 90 per cent of parents made mistakes fitting the seat and the child.

"You might have the best restraint there is, but if it is not put in properly it is not going to provide protection the child needs," she said.

If you need help fitting a car seat or want to check you've installed it correctly, the NRMA provides assistance with installation of child restraints.