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Car seats when emigrating to Australia

(5 Posts)
HPandBaconSandwiches Mon 31-Oct-16 05:54:37

We have 2 DC and off to Brisbane in a couple of months. DC are both in high back boosters here which are great but I know it would be illegal to use them in Australia still considering though

I had a look at the childcarseats website and none of the options look as good as our current seats tbh.

Can anyone recommend a good car seat (age 3 and 6 but both very tall for age)? DC1 is in M&S age 8-9 for height but v slim, DC2 in age 5-6 and has been in a high back booster since turning 3 as too tall for group 1 seat.

Also, how can you work out what size seat will fit them? Do you have to go to a shop to get them to try it? Seems to be to do with shoulder height but I can't find any height charts!

I've had bad experience renting car seats in Europe before and was very keen to avoid having to rent until we managed to buy new ones so considering taking ours until we can get an official one we like. It's just another thing we could do without sorting out when we step off the plane!


martinisandcake Mon 31-Oct-16 06:02:47

You can take a look at Baby Bunting, Baby Village and babies r us.

The uk seats aren't legal here although I think that only really applies in terms of insurance.

They are all anchored in the boot with a long strap, which is different, they are just starting to use isofix but most cars here don't have that option hmm

Good luck with the move

HPandBaconSandwiches Mon 31-Oct-16 06:26:23

Thanks Martini it's frustrating there isn't just a worldwide standard! I'll have a look at the places you've recommended.
All a bit stressful this emigrating business!

sixandoot Mon 31-Oct-16 10:33:11

Different features (eg easy-adjust/no-rethread harness without needing to remove the restraint from the vehicle, adjust the shoulder strap heights and then reinstall it; and heaps of other features) depend on personal preference.

The best restraint in each Type depends on your child's comfort preferences and body shape, and also on the shape of your vehicle's seats. Do you know the make and model of the vehicle/s you'll be installing the restraints in?

All rearward-facing seats and all forward-facing seats with an inbuilt/integral 6-point harness and most boosters use a top tether anchorage system. There are also a handful of boosters which meet exactly the same Standard as tethered boosters but aren't anchored. Some people see them, especially the few of them that fold for storage, as handy boosters to have as spares for occasional use for visiting children even though they meet the same Standard as other boosters of the same Type and are safe for permanent every day use. Of the untethered boosters the Britax SafeNSound Tourer (rebadged as the Swift at BigW) has the highest shoulder height markers and therefore will last the longest. Like many Britax (which includes the brands SafeNSound, BabyLove and HiPod) restraints, its anti-submarine feature is achieved by the use of a SlideGuard clip - the lap portion of the seatbelt feeds through the clip and this prevents the child sliding/submarining under the seatbelt in an accident. Other brands, eg InfaSecure, achieve submarine prevention by other design features such as low armrests under which the vehicle seatbelt is fed. They meet the same Standard; it just depends whether your child is un/comfortable in one or the other.

Most vehicles will have two or three or four or more anchor points for top tethers. Many vehicles, including just about all vehicles less than a decade or so old, will also have some ISOFIX lower anchorage points. ISOFIX is used instead of a seatbelt, ie the top tether anchor must always be used on restraints that have a top tether, regardless of whether the restraint is installed using the vehicle seatbelt or ISOFIX.

The research indicate there is nothing safer about restraints with ISOFIX capability, except that some people find it quicker or easier to instal restraints using ISOFIX than threading the vehicle's seatbelt through the belt path of the restraint and so therefore there might be less scope for user error which might compromise the performance of the restraint in the event of an accident.

ISOFIX is limited by weight which effectively means it's only available for manufacturers to include as a feature of restraints of certain Types. If you'd like your 3yo rearward-facing, or choose one of the restraint Types (for a three year old probably the only likely one might be a Type AB restraint) that accommodate a child plus restraint up to only a limited weight then ISOFIX restraints might be relevant to you.

Restraints are outgrown when the child reaches the shoulder height markers. This is measured from rump to shoulder when seated and is set by the Standard for each Type.

The minimums required by legislation are well below the recommended safety minimums for moving to the next level of restraint. (There's also a mismatch between the Standard, the Australian Design Rules, the legislation, and the evidence-based recommendations {eg from Neuroscience Research Australia} for safe use of restraints.)

The best practice recommendations are:
-rearward-facing until the child outgrows all restraints on the market - since the 2013 version of the Standard, this essentially means rearward-facing until the child no longer fits below the shoulder height markers in a Type A4 restraint (which accomodates an average 2-3yo or a small 3-4yo rearward-facing) in rearward-facing mode (Type A4 restraints can then be used in forward-facing mode until outgrown).
-then forward facing in a restraint with an inbuilt integral 6-point harness (not an accessory/H harness) until the child outgrows the shoulder height markers - since the 2013 version of the Standard, this essentially means any of the Type G restraints which accommodate in the inbuilt 6-point harness an average 8yo or a small 10yo
-then, if the child doesn't meet the 5-step test, a Type F restraint
-vehicle's lap-sash seatbelt without any child restraint only after the child has outgrown all child restraints on the market and meets the 5-step test on that vehicle seat. A child might meet the 5-step test on one vehicle seat but not on another. The 5-step test requires 1) child's back against the vehicle seat back 2) child's knees bend in front of the vehicle seat 3) sash portion of the lap-sash seatbelt sits across the middle of the shoulder 4) lap portion of the seatbelt sits low across the hips touching the thighs (not the stomach) 5) child can remain seated according to points 1-4 for the whole journey (distracted, asleep, irritable, long journey, etc).

With Type G restraints now being available it's unlikely you'd buy a Type E booster which uses the vehicle's lap-sash seatbelt and accommodates up to an average 8yo. If for some reason you did want one the tethered ones with the highest shoulder height markers, ie the ones that would last the longest, are the Britax SafeNSound HiLinerSG (rebadged as the HiGrow at BigW), the Britax HiPod Boston and the InfaSecure Vario (rebadged as the Transit in KMart). The untethered one with the highest shoulder height markers is the SafeNSound Tourer/Swift. There are folding Type Es but they have fairly low shoulder height markers - BabyLove EzyMove/HiPod Rio (same seat, different badges) and InfaSecure's folding booster which is rebadged under many different names for different retailers.

If your 6yo has a remarkably long seated height from rump to shoulder and doesn't fit in a Type G (although it's extremely unlikely this would be the case) you could buy a Type F Britax SafeNSound Encore10 booster. It's a fabulous seat which adjusts three ways (height, width, thigh length) and has SafeNSound's SICT Side Impact Cushion Technology (which some other SafeNSound restraints also have) and has some other bells and whistles.

Sooooo, after all that, if you're comfortable with your 3yo forward-facing then you'd probably be looking at a TypeG restraint for each child. These have a minimum/entry seated height rump to shoulder of 29cm and maximum/exit of 51cm. Some people would suggest disregarding the Dorel (Mother's Choice Journey, Safety 1st Sentry) which leaves the: Britax SafeNSound MaxiGuard or MaxiGuardPro (the Pro has more bells and whistles than the basic MaxiGuard); Britax BabyLove EzyGrowEP/Britax HiPod Manhattan (these are the same seat as each other but badged as BabyLove or HiPod for different retailers, and both are more basic (eg sans no-rethread harness adjustment) versions of the MaxiGuards); InfaSecure Evolve (the more basic version is BigW's Genesis). Some people are completely happy to buy online and find that they have no problem with any restraint suiting their vehicle and/or their child. Others prefer to try the restraints in their vehicle and with their child sitting in it, eg in some vehicles the recline feature of the InfaSecure Evolve/Genesis will never work and will always pop out, some children prefer the thigh depth of the Britax Type G restraints while others prefer the thigh depth of InfaSecure TypeGs (there's a 9cm difference in thigh depth).

In all Types of restraint some people would suggest disregarding Dorel (Mother's Choice, Safety 1st, several other badges including the ones sold in Aldi and auto parts shops and other places). Although the low shoulder height markers these brands had under previous versions of the Standard is no longer an issue, they still have a seatbelt installation path which some people view as unnecessarily difficult.

Recaro has been advertising that it's going to enter the Australian child restraint market but that hasn't yet happened.

There are authorised restraint fitters but there is no requirement to use them. Some are good at their job and well-trained. Carefully reading the instruction manual and following it step by step, and perhaps watching the manufacturer's YouTube video for the restraint you're installing, means you can safely instal your own restraint/s. You can also follow manufacture instructions to adjust and reinstal and move restraints between vehicles yourself if needed.

tl;dr join this fbook group and ask your question/s there.

HPandBaconSandwiches Wed 02-Nov-16 21:05:24

Thank you so much six, that's all incredibly helpful. Still working my way through it but I really appreciate all the time and effort. Thanks flowers

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