GM Holden recommends that children aged 12 years and under should ride in the rear seat of a vehicle, properly restrained. Research shows that children are safer if restrained in a rear seat.
This applies to an infant riding in a rear-facing capsule, a child riding in a forward-facing child seat, an older child riding in a booster seat and children large enough to wear a seat belt alone.
While research shows that children who were properly restrained have survived high-speed crashes with minor injuries or bruising, misuse of child restraints is responsible for a range of serious injuries.
Common misuses include placing a child in a seat which is inappropriate for that child's weight and height; not anchoring the seat tightly enough; not using top tethers; incorrectly threading seatbelts; loose, unbuckled, twisted and damaged seatbelts.
To raise public awareness about the proper use of infant capsules and car seats, GM Holden sponsors a free mobile service where an expert in Restraint Inspections visits kindergartens, community groups and Holden dealerships in Victoria to offer professional advice on correct child seat fitment.
The Australian Transport Council, comprising of Transport Minister's from across Australia, have approved new laws which will introduce a mandatory, size-appropriate restraint system for all children up to the age of seven. These new laws came into effect throughout 2010.
The new laws require children to be appropriately restrained in a motor vehicle in a suitable approved child restraint from birth up to the age of seven.Specifically, the new laws will require children:
Up to the age of six months to be restrained in a rearward facing child restraint (e.g. infant capsule). From six months until the age of four to be restrained in either a rearward or forward facing child restraint (e.g. child safety seat).
From four years until the age of seven to be restrained in either a forward facing child restraint or booster seat restrained by a correctly adjusted and fastened seatbelt or child safety harness.The new laws also deal with the issue of children sitting in the front seat of a vehicle.
Children up to four years must be restrained in the rear of the vehicle (where the vehicle has two or more rows of seats).
Children aged between four and seven years will not be permitted to sit in the front seat unless all other seating positions are already occupied by children under seven.
By specifiying the type of restraint to be used at different ages and where children must be seated in a vehicle, the new laws will reduce the risk of injury caused by the use of unsuitable restraints for a child's size.
For more information, please refer to the Australian Transport Council website.