Research has found that children are three times more likely to die or be seriously injured in a car crash if their car seat has been used incorrectly.
NeuRA researcher, Associate Professor Julie Brown, is working towards minimising errors in child restraint use in the hopes of reducing child deaths and injuries on Australian roads.
A recent story written by Julie Power featured in the Sydney Morning Herald shows the importance of independent testing and research into the misuse of child car seats.
Since the 1970s, Australia has seen a remarkable decrease in the number of children being killed on our roads. This achievement can be attributed to a combination of legislation, standards, fitting stations and continuous and independent testing as part of the Child Restraint Evaluation Program (CREP) at ChildCarSeats.com.au.
Modern car seats have never been safer or more protective when they are used correctly.
Yet global studies have found up to 60 per cent are misused, sometimes causing death and serious injuries.
Associate Professor Julie Brown has been testing ways to minimise these errors. Her latest study is focused on ways to better communicate how the car seats are meant to be used.
Instead of designs that make these seats difficult to use correctly, she wants to make them “difficult to use incorrectly”. As well as improved labels and instructions, this may also include using technology in the vehicle that alerts the driver if a seat is installed incorrectly.
Professor Brown is also part of an international group of researchers targeting child safety in ride-share services.
“What I think is a solution is integrated restraints and boosters,” says Professor Brown.
“These would come with the car, instead of being transported by the user.”
Today, many other countries are looking to adopt the Australian framework to promote child safety and are seeking Australian advice as they introduce laws mandating the use of children’s car seats.
Read the full story from the Sydney Morning Herald here.