Child Seat Restraint System
The number after 'E' in the ECE 44 standard indicates as to which country certifies the child restraint. Hence the number differs between countries. The EU (European Union) also has similar symbols to indicate safety standards for children travelling in a vehicle.
In Australia there are six different types (Type A to Type F) of child restraints under the mandatory standard. Note: these restraints are NOT based on weight but on HEIGHT. All car seats with the AS/NZ1754 sticker will have height markers. These markers show clearly for what height the seat is appropriate.
'Infant carrier' means a restraint system intended to accommodate the child in a rearward-facing semi-recumbent position. This design distributes the restraining forces over the child's head and body, excluding its limbs, in the event of the frontal collision.
Children must appropriately be tied to their seats so that they are comfortable and safe when traveling to and from school. Certain cars and school buses have factory installed safety restraint systems while others can get them added at a later time.
For a child restraint to be sold or used within any of the 56 UNECE member states it must be approved by the standards of UNECE Regulation 44/04, Directive 77/541/EEC or any other subsequent adaptation thereto. In order to be granted ECE R44 approval the child restraint must comply with several design, construction and production conformity standards. If approval is granted the seat can display an orange label with the unique approval license number, the type of approval, the mass group approved for and the details of the manufacturer.
Airlines must allow a child who is under the age of 18 to use an approved CRS that is properly labeled, appropriate for the child's weight, and as long as the child is properly secured in the CRS. Many companies manufacture CRSs approved for use on aircraft that are specifically designed for larger children who are physically challenged. See Child Safety Seat Ease of Use Ratings for more information.
Straps on the harness should be snug on the child, parents should not be able to pinch the straps away from the shoulders of the child. The straps also need to be placed at the proper height for the child.
After reaching one year of age and 20 pounds (9.1 kg), children may travel in forward-facing seats. Most Scandinavian countries require children to sit rear-facing until at least the age of 4 years. This has contributed to Sweden having the lowest rate of children killed in traffic in international comparisons.
The responsibility for children under the age of 16 using restraints or safety belts correctly rests with the driver. In Queensland, penalties for drivers not ensuring that passengers under the age of 16 are properly restrained involve a fine of A$300 and three demerit points. In Victoria the penalty is a fine of A$234 and three demerit points. Possible suspension or cancellation of license may also apply.
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.