It’s generally believed that ‘Child restraints – Safety Seats are simple’.
In principle that’s completely true, however, ……….
Why, if these products are so simple, do studies consistently report incorrect use in excess of 75%?
Please select an FAQ category below
The road rule, in general terms asks that all children must travel in an approved child restraint suitable for the child’s size. Unfortunately, the breakdown of the road rules for the different ages of children is what everyone is reading and basing their beliefs on. The child restraint road rules are not about limiting the upper use of any restraint type at all, they’re about enforcing a minimum use. Rear facing, like other stages does not have an upper limit other than the Safety Seats stated limit.
We’ve had Safety Seat product in Australian that could handle children rear facing up to two years old or more for well over 15 years. In another respect, seven years old is allowed by the road rule as a minimum to move to using a seat belt only. ie; No s product used at all. In other words the rules allow children to travel at a minimum safety starting point. If anyone doubts this, you only need to look at the front seat rules for child passengers. Seven years old, or under some circumstances from four years old, are both a long way short of what vehicle manufactures and road safety specialists would prefer and often recommend for front seat use.
A common road rule relates to the speed we should travel. With speed, there are maximum speeds allowable for safe road use and it appears to me that this interpretation has incorrectly and inadvertently been applied by many to the child restraint road rules. Child restraint road rules are about the minimum safety not best practice. The design and stated use limitations of any particular Safety Seat product are what limits the maximum use, not the road rules.
An additional complication is that the Australian Standards (1754) of recent versions has ‘required’ manufacturers to ‘promote / market’ their product to comply within the road rule guideline. So they have ‘Birth to 6mths’, ‘6mths to 4 years’ and ‘4 Years to 7 Years’ printed on their boxes reiterating the false belief, that the use of these products is limited to the upper age. Well, no it’s not, but it’s no wonder people get confused is it.
Why, when you have a Safety Seat capable of offering superior protection for a child up to a certain ‘size’, as they all state, would you remove that child from it because of a perceived age limit? It’s not part of the equation and never has been. Those professionally involved with child Safety Seat safety know that these safe travel principles haven’t changed in 30 years. “Stay rear facing as long as possible. Use each Safety Seat type up to its maximum use limitations. Always keep children in the rear seats and use the Safety Seat in accordance with the instructions”.
t’s safest to travel rearward facing for all passengers. This is especially so for our fragile developing infants and young children. On that basis alone we should keep our youngest children travelling rearward facing as long as we can, based on each personal circumstance. Eg: How large a child can your Safety Seat product cater for rear facing (There are several different types). There are often additional limiting factors such as vehicle design and other family passenger demands that restrict particular and / or preferred practices.
For many decades the minimum, legal requirement, to allow a child to travel forward facing was from 8Kgs. With earlier products manufactured to Pre 2010 Standard products this is now over-ruled by the updated Road Rule that requires 6 months of age minimum for forward facing. NB: The child’s size is all important in using any safety equipment and keeping a child rear facing as long as possible is obviously best, but REMEMBER your child can only stay rear facing up to the maximum that your Safety Seat is rated for. Best and safest practices are always related to size (or weight if applicable to your Safety Seat product) choosing and adjustment, not age. With the new Road Rule amendments, choosing by age is only a general guide. Your specific product will have its own minimum ‘Stop’ using criteria.
Refer to the 5 step test below:
If you answered a “Yes” to all 5 Questions, then your child is ready to move out of a Booster seat, into an Adult Lap/sash seatbelt (ie: Three point or across shoulder seatbelt).
If you answered “No” to one or more, then they may still benefit from using a booster seat.
NB: WARNING! A 145cm height is often mentioned as ‘safe to move out’ of a booster seat. This advice is misleading and offers no guarantee of a safer environment.
Passenger size has everything to do with appropriate restraint in relation to the specific Safety Seat device in use. If the seat belt sash in any particular vehicle cuts across your neck, then it’s unsafe. This happens to adults, so children are obviously at risk as well.
A large number of Booster products are not designed to cope with a child of anywhere near a 145cm in height.
The majority of any workplace training is aimed at these four (4) areas.
Child Car Safety Seats require the same attention and for the same reasons.
Personal use and practices have little bearing on dealing with the safe travel aspects of other people’s children. There’s a great deal to know about the differences.
Child Restraint Fitters T1 ( ‘Child Passenger Safety Technicians’ is our preference)
Misinformation is everywhere. A parent may have a dissatisfaction based on a perception created from such information. Alternatively they may have information that a service provider should be aware of, but isn’t. We train practitioners on all aspects.
Automotive Service – Repair workshops, Detailers, Window tinting etc:
Client satisfaction and confidence of any vehicle service provided will be influenced heavily by their Child Safety Seat perspectives, many of which have been established, correct or incorrect, well before they come to your business.
Government departments – Social and Family services:
Duty of care issues are far easier to manage when the focus is appropriately placed. One example: Child Safety Seat products are not all equal when it comes to ease of use, many of them being far too difficult to use in such workplace environments. Why burden staff with restraint products that are overly difficult to use?
Childcare services and organisations:
Duty of care issues are far easier to manage when the focus is appropriately placed. One example: Child transit safety challenges are a daily occurrence and changes are often required on every trip. Why lead staff to believe that a once a year check is good management of child transit safety?
Despite common belief to the contrary, there is no national control or system of licensing or accreditation of service providers involved in Child Car Safety Seat services.
ACRI does provide accreditation for members meeting the criteria.
Prospective service providers need to be mindful that their personal child transit experience has very little to do with providing services for others. Strange as it may sound, a person is most qualified when they are fully aware that they will never know everything to do with this sector and mindful that they need to treat every child transit safety scenario individually, every time. They are expected to research and hone their skills and knowledge every day. Of course, this must be facilitated by completion of a comprehensive training program that teaches practitioners how to recognise the real risks and what it takes to manage them.
ACRI training programs are designed and updated regularly by technicians who have extensive front-line service provision and customer relationship experience.
All organisations have a duty of care to their staff and client welfare.
Involvements with child transit can bring:
Workplace practices have to withstand the scrutiny of staff and client perceptions and also periphery observers. Best practices are the ultimate aim and since they represent a vast difference to the legal requirements discretion over communications in often required.
The Australian Child restraint Resource Initiative is a member organisation developed by technicians who have worked in the field of passenger safety and service provision for decades.
ACRI takes pride in providing the highest quality training and network support possible. To us, it is not only about our training quality. We also help providers get a total understanding of their service environment and what is constantly required to keep reputations, theirs and ours protected.
ACRI was developed because there was little consistency and support in most Australian States on offer to service providers charged with the responsibility of assisting parents, community and workplaces with child transit solutions. Only two Australian States had a system at all, both being exclusive or not offering specialised training program for specific sector needs. ACRI is inclusive, open to anyone prepared to make the commitment for change.
To developed, design and deliver effective child passenger safety training programs and ongoing support resources that are second to none, for workplaces of all kinds.
As no two child transit scenarios are ever exactly the same, a progressive and effective support system is paramount in providing and future proofing quality service provisions.
ACRI unique resources include:
Web services for Parents as well as Service providers
We are proud to be:
An affiliate organisation that can enhance service provider knowledge and quality industry – client relationships.
On average, annual ACRI membership costs as little as an overnight stay in a city hotel.
Stand out – demonstrate your commitment.
The benefits of affiliation are well known to business environments.
ACRI affiliation provides:
Networking – Resource sharing – Credibility enhancement – Industry specific training updates
In the child passenger safety arena, post training technical support is often required and affiliation facilitates resourcing and distributing solutions and satisfying workplace practices.
Sorry, ACRI cannot help with a State government affiliation. We suggest you contact your State Road Authority, as each State manages this differently.
ACRI has had decades of experience in identifying the real risks of training others for service environments. We focus on the practical and realistic outcomes required when dealing with community and challenging parental expectations.
This experience is built in part on long term successful service provider relationships and their valuable feedback.
ACRI training programs are designed, updated and monitored regularly by technicians who have extensive front-line service provision experience and highlight the factors below.
Provides insight into the ‘How it was fitted and by whom’ paradigm. The traditional ‘Australian model’ commonly practiced, increases provider liabilities whilst dis-empowering a parent with their child’s safety.
t is commonly believed or preferred by many at least, that “I have to be shown how to ‘do it”. ACRI understands and promotes that personal practice is 100% necessary to learn this activity effectively.
However, no one can learn all about the functions of the total product range environment in any classroom over a month, let alone a few days.
When the mammoth variety of Safety Seat products, vehicle variations and activities are fully realised, it is clear that this can only truly be learnt through experience in the field. The narrow range of scenarios that can be replicated in a classroom can disadvantage learners by implying unrealistically limited outcomes and expectations.
Teaching what the risks are and how they need to be managed within any environment (Child Car Safety Seat, family and vehicle) that a learner is presented with, is an efficient and realistic approach to teaching this topic.
Online delivery reinforces that a service provider is alone responsible for their actions and that each child’s travel safety environment is the sum of many aspects, all variables that cannot easily be replicated in any classroom.
ACRI online resources share specialised insights, via Fact sheets, Guidelines and dedicated training Videos.
ACRI has extensive experience at all methods of training delivery and since developing our suite of online training programs in the early 2010’s, we’ve discovered that online learners do better than face to face learners.
Another factor is that ACRI does not train service providers to just ‘do an installation’ for someone else. Take a service provision to a parent as an example: The greatest value of an installation service is not the ‘installation’ it is the consultation and briefing components that empowers the parent with their child’s safety every day. Part of that process teaches the parent how to self assess their safety seats, so ACRI training teaches learners to self assess what is a safe or unsafe outcome.
Although we agree that a physical assessment would be the ultimate, we have yet to see this method provide an ultimate outcome when delivered within the limited time frame that any face to face session is limited to.
Child transit scenarios are limitless, so every vehicle door or Child Safety Seat box opened may be different; possibly vastly different to the last one attended: Each scenario must be dealt with as it arises and the circumstances demand.
Here’s an example of the time required for practical activities in a training session:
Of any Child Safety Seat product, there are at least four (4) physical ‘hands on’ actions to learn. (Many have more than eight – 8).
Let’s keep it simple at 4. If each action takes 5 minutes (which is conservative) to demonstrate, observe the learner, follow up, review and then possibly correct or retrial the individual. That equals at a minimum, 20 minutes.
If you multiply this by each Safety Seat product variety that you’re likely to find during an average community service checking session, (as an example) there could be 5 different types (again a conservative number). The spent time has now grown to 100 minutes
(Yes, there are likely to be some cross-over, ie: similar actions, but mind you, any challenging products – ie: Difficult to use – and there are many – will negate any time savings achieved).
Multiply this by the number of learners, say six and we’re at 600 minutes (10 hours). At this stage we haven’t even discussed ‘best practices’, ‘principles’ , ‘roads rules’ or anything else that they need to be aware of. We realise that many learners will pick this up readily, but many won’t.
Professional service providers who have been doing this work for decades and over hundred of exposures per week have never seen every possible vehicle, let alone all safety seats or family or passenger limitations.