YOUR QUICK GUIDE TO CHILD RESTRAINTS

child-restraints-guide

There are so many types of child restraints on the market it can be hard to differentiate between them. And it’s even harder now with the recent introduction of new categories & ISOFIX. Here’s your quick guide to finding the right one for your child.

Before we start, here’s two important things to know.

Firstly, although we refer to children by age, when it comes to child restraints it’s their size that matters. Every child restraint sold in Australia has at least two shoulder height indicators, one for the minimum size of the occupant and one for the maximum. You should use these indicators to determine the correct fit; as long your child’s shoulders are at or between the shoulder markers the child restraint is the right size, irrespective of your child’s age.

Secondly, child restraints for smaller babies have an inbuilt (integral) harness which means the restraint body must be strong enough to restrain your child in an accident. Booster seats that use your car’s lap sash seat belt don’t need to be as structurally strong. That’s why booster seats that weigh under 2kgs are the only child restraints that don’t require a top tether strap for installation.

infant-seat

Type A1 & A2 – Infant Seat

  • 0 – 6mths & 0- 12mths
  • rear-facing

Type A restraints are generally baby capsules or carriers. Often they are compatible with prams as part of a travel system. Type A1 will accommodate a small infant up to 6 or 9 months and Type A2 a bigger baby up to 12 or 18 months.

Type A restraints have the advantage of being portable.

Because of limited usage (6 to 18months), Type A restraints are popular rental options.

Type B Car Seat

  • 6mths to 4yrs
  • forward-facing

If you initially use a baby carrier or capsule, some time between 6 to 18 months you might progress to a Type B restraint.

They are less popular than combination A/B restraints (below) because they are not as flexible or multifunctional but Type B restraints are cheaper than combination A/B restraints.

type-b
Car-seat-type-AB

Combination A/B – Convertible Car Seat

  • O to 4yrs
  • converts from rear-facing to forward-facing
  • integral Harness

Combination A/B restraints usually accommodate infants rear-facing from 0 to 12 months, then convert to forward facing until 4 years.

There are many types of combination A/B restraints on the market, they are a common option and save you the cost of separately purchasing a Type A, then Type B restraint.

Combination A/B/E – Convertible Car Seat / Booster

  • 0 to 8yrs
  • converts from rear-facing to forward facing
  • converts from integral harness to lap sash seat belt

The combination A/B/E restraint is reasonably new to the market. It converts from rear-facing with an integral harness up to 6 months, to forward-facing with integral harness up to 4 years, then to a booster style restraint that uses the lap sash seat belt up to 8 years.

The combination A/B/E restraint is the first that will accommodate
your child for the entire time they need to travel in a child restraint.

convertible-car-seat-booster
convertible-booster

Combination B/E – Convertable Booster

  • 6mths to 8yrs
  • forward-facing
  • converts from integral harness to lap sash seat belt

Combination B/E restraints start off with an integral harness until approximately 4 years. Then the integral harness can be removed or stored to create a booster style seat which is used in conjunction with a lap sash seat belt until 6 or 8 years.

There are many types of combination B/E restraints on the market, they are a common option and save you the cost of separately purchasing a Type B, then Type E restraint.

Type C – Child Accessories Harness
Although the accessory harness is covered by the Standard most researchers, authorities, manufacturers and advocacy groups advise against their use.
car-seat-harness
type-e-booster-seat

Type E Booster Seat

  • 4yrs to 6 or 8yrs
  • forward-facing
  • lap sash seat belt

Type E restraints are standard booster seats which are used in conjunction with a lap sash seat belt. The car seat belt (rather than an integral harness) supports your child in the event of an accident.

Type E booster seats have been designed to enable your child to sit higher and have the seat belt fit better.

There is no reason to add an additional accessory harness, in fact, you are discouraged from adding the accessory harness to a booster seat.

Type F – Booster Seat

  • 4yrs to 10yrs
  • forward-facing
  • lap sash seat belt

Type F restraints are larger booster seats which are taller and with larger side wings. They are used in conjunction with a lap sash seat belt.

type-f-booster
typeg-harnessed-booster Type G – Harnessed Booster

  • 6mths to 8yrs
  • forward facing
  • integral harness

Type G restraints allow for integral harness use up to 8 years old.

The inbuilt harness will offer more protection than the traditional lap sash seat belt used for larger/older children travelling in booster seats.

Isofix Installation

ISOFIX compatible child restraints are now coming onto the market and available in Type, A & B and combination A/B only. They have a top tether strap and capable of being installed using either seat belt installation or ISOFIX compatible installation. There are two different versions of ISOFIX compatible restraints to choose from; rigid lower attachment and flexible lower attachment.

Note: Legally you will not be able to use an overseas ISOFIX restraint here in Australia as they do no meet Australian Safety Standards.

isofix-seat
infant-seat-rear Type A4 – Infant Seat Car Seat (approved but not yet available)

  • 0 – 30mths
  • rear-facing
  • integral harness

The Type A4 restraint will allow your child to travel rear facing up to approximately 2.5 years.

With the introduction of Type A4 we should see options for children travelling rear-facing for longer.

Suitable for air travel (approved but not yet available)

Type A and B seats will be able to be tested and certified for air travel in Australia.

They can be installed using the aircraft lap belts.

Aeroplane certified restraints will feature a special logo to indicate they have been certified for use on aircraft.

air-travel-car-seat

A big thank you to Aussie car seat designers & manufactures, Infa-Secure, who provided the technical expertise which enabled us to write this guide.

 

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About

Vanessa loves great design. Beauty, function and innovation get her excited. When she’s not hunting down the next big baby idea, she’s busy with her day job and being a mum to her 3 lovely boys.


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