National Child Restraint Guidelines released today

On National Kidsafe Day, parents and carers of children are being urged to consider whether they are buckling up properly before hitting the road.

Neuroscience Research Australia (NeuRA), in partnership with Kidsafe – The Child Accident Prevention Foundation of Australia – have launched National Guidelines for the Safe Restraint of Children Travelling in Motor Vehicles.

NeuRA and Kidsafe want to see all children as safe as possible when travelling in cars. Ensuring that parents receive straightforward, consistent advice from all sources is an important step in making this happen. These guidelines provide best practice recommendations and have been approved by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC).

“The aim was to have a single set of recommendations, based on research evidence, that child safety groups around Australia have agreed upon,” says NeuRA’s Professor Lynne Bilston, who led the development of the guidelines.

“The guidelines provide road safety experts around the country with a comprehensive evidence-based resource to base their advice to parents and carers on. Previously this information was scattered across different sources, making it difficult to give advice based on the best evidence.”

Injury is the leading cause of death for children aged 1 to 14 years and car crashes are the commonest cause, so it’s critical that Australian parents are doing everything they can to protect their children while in a moving vehicle. Approximately 70 Australian children die as passengers each year, and another 1500 are seriously injured. Children who are not correctly restrained in the most appropriate restraint for their size are seven times more likely to be serious injured or killed in a car crash.

Lynne Bilston says, “Although parents are getting better at choosing the right type of child restraints, many children are still not being buckled in correctly. The guidelines will help parents choose the right restraint and importantly, use that restraint correctly, keeping children as safe as they can be in the car.”

“It’s also important to encourage parents and carers to follow best practice rather than just the minimum required by law.”

Melita Leeds from Kidsafe says, “Parents want to keep their children safe, but knowing how to do this in cars can be confusing, especially if different agencies give different advice. The new guidelines will help reduce confusion among parents by making sure that the advice is the same.”

The guidelines will be launched at 10:30am, October 22 at NeuRA. Media are welcome to attend.