Wake-up call for Bundaberg parents

Kidsafe Queensland CEO Susan Teerds and Burnett MP Stephen Bennett, checked 30 child car seats for faults. Picture: AARON GOODWIN

By Aaron Goodwin

Bundaberg families have been given a wake-up call, with 100 percent ,of a small sample size of child car seats, not meeting the Australian safety standards.

Kidsafe joined forces with Burnett MP Stephen Bennett and conducted free child car seat safety checks at the Hinkler Central carpark on 26 November.

30 child car restraints were inspected, seven were straight installations, of the 23 already fitted, all of them had faults and one was even illegal to use in Australia.

Four of the checked seats only had one fault and the other 19 seats had multiple faults.

The most common fault was the adult seatbelt was not fitted correctly.

Of the seven seat installations, one had a broken clip cover and a newborn carrier was missing the newborn padding.

21 people were killed or hospitalised on the Central Region’s roads last year, as a result of not wearing a seatbelt or an appropriate restraint.

Mr Bennett is encouraging parents to check the Australian safety standards and ensure an accredited installer can do the job.

”People trying to buy things second hand or on the cheap, it’s not easy I understand these things aren’t cheap,” Mr Bennett said.

”Locally I’d be questioning mums and families about the value of making sure there is an accredited installer, just don’t take the word of what they’re advertising.

At the end of the day it’s what value you put on the safety of people in your car.

”Not every bloke can do it, as a grandfather and father I’m the same, I’ve learnt a lot here today.

”Some of the parents have walked away here educated and shocked about what they’ve found.”

Kidsafe Queensland CEO Susan Teerds said from 5,000 child car seats checked in Brisbane, 80 percent had faults or weren’t installed properly.

”Unless there installed and used properly, baby’s and kids aren’t safe in the car,” Ms Teerds said.

”Stephen invited us up here to see what’s happening in Bundaberg, are the Bundaberg babies and children travelling safely?

”What we’ve discovered is most of the seats have problems and we’ve reinstalled and fixed a lot of problems with the seats.

”It’s worse the further you get out into the regional areas.

”In Brisbane you’ve got more access to bigger baby stores, more fitters, more people who know what they’re doing.

”When you get out into the regions, is there a trained, nationally accredited fitter in Bundaberg?”

Ms Teerds explained how the common myth of jamming the passenger seat against the capsule isn’t safe.

”It’s science, if you jam something solid and you’re hit by force, what’s going to move,” Ms Teerds said.

”That baby seat jammed in can’t move, so the baby will take the full force of the impact.

”We need to leave a little gap so the baby seat, if you’ve ever seen crash testing, the baby seat moves quite a bit.

”If it’s wedged in from the back of the front seat, then nothing can move except the baby and they’ll suffer sever injuries around their shoulders.”

Common problems Ms Teerds listed include incoorect harness height on the child’s shoulders and having the baby facing forward in the car to soon.

”If the harness is to low, as you tighten the harness, you’re squashing the baby down,” Ms Teerds said.

”If the tether strap isn’t attached to the correct anchor point, then it’s not going to hold in a collision

”Luggage points are not anchor points.

”We can’t turn the baby forward facing, until they reach the correct height marker.

”Babies stay rear facing until they’re nearly two, that’s the way it is.

”Another problem is the ISOfix connectors are not showing green, meaning the seat is sliding around in the car.”

To find out if your child’s car seat is safe, contact Kidsafe Queensland on 07 3854 1829.