Chest Clips and Australia
Chest clips are a pre-crash positioner for shoulder harnesses – they are designed to help maintain the position of the shoulder straps correctly on a child shoulders. A welcomed by-product of this can, but doesn’t necessarily mean, be they assist in keeping a child’s shoulders retained in their harness. In fact you can see more information about the Houdini Stop, a NZ designed version, in our historical knowledge base articles here. Below is a stack of to the point information regarding Chest Clips in Australia.
Very few chest clips have been crash tested in Australia – in fact at the time of writing this article, ACRI are only aware of the Houdini Stop that is still on the Australian market and has been crash tested to comply with the AS/NZS:8005 standard. Due to the costing involved with design, production and testing it’s difficult for companies to devote funds to just an accessory to a child restraint that may only have a limited sales exposure. This has been one of the biggest challenges to these style of clips in Australia.
It is not compulsory for chest clips to be crash tested.
Well…This is true. Unless a child seat includes the chest clip when it is sold there is no requirement for a chest clip to be tested in Australia, although Australia has the AS/NZS:8005 standard – it’s still not compulsory that an accessory clip such as these needs to be tested. However if a manufacturer were to release a child seat with the chest clip at the time of sale then this must be tested in accordance with the AS/NZS 1754 standard when the child seat get’s tested to comply with the Australian Standards.
Chest Clips help during an accident
Well…This is a play on words – they are designed to help prior to the crash by helping to keep the child’s shoulder harness in it’s correct location. Chest clips can actually be very dangerous in the actual collision if they haven’t been tested to comply with Australian Standards and this is because it could cause damage to the neck of the child during an impact – this is why the new generation of these chest clips will be designed to slide in an impact, allowing a child seat to perform in the way it was designed. So it could be said that there is no benefit to a chest clip during an accident as they were designed as a pre-accident positioner.
It’s illegal to use a seat without a chest-clip if it came with the seat
All child seats must be used with the manufacturers directions in mind. If the manufacturer instructions say you must use the chest clip included with your seat, then you must use the chest clip included with your child seat. If the manufacturer’s instructions outline that a seat can be used with the included chest clip then you may or may not use it at your discretion. Just because the Australian Standards makes allowances for chest clips to be included with child seats sold in Australia does not make their use compulsory – As always, we follow the directions of the manufacturer in accordance with the Australian Standards.
Please Note: As of the time of writing this article, chest-clips are not included with any mainstream child seats in Australia, with the exception of few special needs. However, overseas and particularly in the USA these types of clips incredibly common and included with nearly every child seat sold
If the chest-clip is placed too high it could cause injury to the throat
Yes. Although chest clips for the Australian market should release or slide during an impact there is a risk that a chest clip placed high could cause injury to the child’s throat. Most chest-clips are designed to sit on the chest, around armpit level.
Can I use any chest-clip in Australia
No. If the Australian manufacturer distributes a child seat with a chest-clip and it’s compliant with Australian Standards, or if the Australian manufacturer has tested the chest-clip and it’s compliant with Australian Standards then you can use it in accordance with the manufacturers directions.