Child Passenger Safety Seat System
Booster seats are recommended for children until they are big enough to properly use a seat belt. Seat belts are engineered for adults, and are thus too big for small children. In the United States, for children under the age of 4 and/or under 40 pounds (18 kg), a seat with a 5-point harness is suggested instead of a booster seat.
By law every child restraint sold in Australia must carry the Australian Standard AS/NZ1754 sticker (pictured right). Most overseas child restraints, including restraints from Europe and the USA, do not comply with these Standards and cannot legally be used in Australia. This also applies for ISOFIX child restraints imported from Europe or the USA.
Convertibles aren't considered the best choice for a newborn because the bottom harness slots are often above the shoulders of most newborns. A seat with low bottom harness slots can be used if it is desired to use a convertible from birth.
Directive 2003/20/EC of the European Parliament and the Council has mandated the use of child-restraint systems in vehicles effective May 5, 2006. Children less than 135 centimetres (53 in) tall in vehicles must be restrained by an approved child restraint system suitable for the child's size. In practice, child restraint systems must be able to be fitted to the front, or other rows of seats. Children may not be transported using a rearward-facing child restraint system in a passenger seat protected by a front air bag, unless the air bag has been deactivated.
Booster seats lift the child and allow the seat belt to sit firmly across the collar bone and chest, with the lap portion fitted to the hips. If the seat belt is not across the collar bone and the hips, it will ride across the neck and the stomach and cause internal injuries in the event of a collision.
Convertible safety seats can be installed as either rear-facing or forward-facing. There is a large selection available to choose from and weight limits, height limits, and extra features vary from seat to seat and by manufacturer. Seats with a 5-point harness are considered safer than those with an overhead shield
Manufacturers have quality controls to ensure seats are properly put together and packaged. However, it is not guaranteed that the included instructions are always adhered to and correctly followed. Up to 95% of the safety seats that are installed may not be the right seat for the child, may be hooked into the vehicle loosely, may be hooked with an incompatible belt in the vehicle, may have harnesses incorrectly fastened in some way, or may be incorrectly placed in front of air bags. In 1997, six out of ten children who were killed in vehicle crashes were not correctly restrained.
(2) subsequent to the time of the offense, the defendant obtained an appropriate child passenger safety seat system for each child required to be secured in a child passenger safety seat system under Section 545.412(a).
It is recommended that children sit rear-facing for as long as possible. In Scandinavian countries, for example, children sit rear-facing until around 4 years old. Rear-facing car seats are significantly safer in frontal collisions, which are the most likely to cause severe injury and death. Rear-facing group 1 car seats are becoming more widespread but are still difficult to source in many countries.