The City of Stirling is aiming to increase the number of parents and carers who use safely fitted child car restraints. On this page you will find information regarding the correct child car restraint fitting in relation to weight and type of restraint.

A few statistics about transport related injuries

Did you know:
  • In Western Australia, transport related injury is a leading cause of death and serious injury in children aged 0–14 years.  (Injury Control Program, 1997)
  • Approximately 200 people are killed and 15,000 seriously injured in road crashes each year in Western Australia, with non-use of seat belts being a major contributor. 
  • Between 1990 and 1999, 33 per cent of drivers and passengers killed in road crashes in Western Australia were not wearing seat belts. (Henstridge et al., 2000).
  • In Western Australia, between 1993 and 2003 an average of 9 child passengers died each year, 186 were hospitalised and 200 presented with injuries from vehicle crashes.

How to use child car restraints correctly

When selecting an appropriate child car restraint for use, it is important to consider the weight and size of the child using the restraint.

Anchorage points

Anchorage points are specifically designed for securing of the top tether strap of child car restraints. Anchorage points should be directly behind and in the centre of the restraint. Anchorage points are not located in the same position in all vehicles, so check your car manual to find where they are. If your car does not have any you must get one fitted by an accredited Type 2 Fitter.
A list of authorised child car fitting stations is available on the Department of Transport website.

Top tether strap

To correctly adjust the top tether strap, push the device firmly against the seat squab and ensure that it is not so tight that the restraint lifts off the seat. Most straps are not twisted, although some child car restraint manufactures install a twist in the top tether strap. Check your child car restraint manual for correct use of the strap.

Harness straps

Harness straps should be adjusted so that only one finger can be inserted between the child’s body and the harness strap. Shoulder harness straps should be as close to the top of the child’s shoulders as possible, with no more than 25 mm variation above or below the shoulder level.
When the child’s shoulder level is above the topmost shoulder harness slot and/or the child’s eyes are level with the top of the back of the restraint, then the child should be moved to the next appropriately-sized restraint.
Do not use a child harness if the child’s shoulders are above the top of the seat back or headrest.

Lap-and-sash seat belt

The lap section of an adult seat belt should fit across the child’s hips and be firmly adjusted. The sash section of the adult seat belt should fit across the child’s torso. If it cuts into the child’s neck, ear or face then a sash locator or other approved means of altering the seatbelt to suit the child should be used.

Child car restraint accessories

The accessories listed below can be purchased from many baby product stores.
Grated buckle
A grated buckle also known as a 3 bar slide, is a device to locate the lap-sash belt comfortably across the child’s body. It can also be used for converting an adult lap-sash seat belt into the equivalent of a lap belt for use with a child restraint.
Extension strap
An extension strap attached to the upper tether strap and can be used in situations where the restraint is a long way from the anchorage points. Make sure the attachment clip is positioned behind the vehicle seat back.

Sash locater
A sash locater can be used to hold the sash section of the vehicle seat belt away from the child’s neck or to hold the seat belt up on the shoulder.

Anchor brackets
Anchor brackets need an anchor bolt, anchor fitting, spacers, reinforcing washer, lock washer and a securing nut to fit.

Cargo barriers
When a child restraint has been fitted to a station wagon or four-wheel drive vehicle, it is strongly recommended that a cargo barrier be installed. The cargo barrier must have gaps designed for tether straps to pass through and should be checked regularly for signs of wear and tear.

Restraint positioning

Research has shown that children are much safer when seated in the back seat of the vehicle. The safest position for a child restraint is usually the centre seating position of the rear seat. If this seat cannot be used the next recommended position is the rear passengers side. In some cases placing one folded towel under the base of a rearward facing restraint will adjust for excessive slope or contouring of the vehicle seat and offer a better angle of recline for the restraint and the baby.
The front seats of the vehicle should not be used for a child car restraint. Capsule restraints require 50 mm clearance from the front seats, and convertible restraints in rearward facing position can have as little as 1 finger-width clearance.

Free child car restraint checking service and talks

The City of Stirling aims to reduce injuries and deaths amongst our little ones through its child car restraint fitting and checking program.
Our Road Safety Officer offers a free child car restraint checking service. Bookings are essential.
The Officer also visits libraries, childcare centres and organisations as a courtesy service. If you would like to arrange a visit, we will need 2 to 4 car bays to establish a checkpoint, with appropriate space and shelter provided.

Further information

For further information contact the City of Stirling's Road Safety Officer on (08) 9205 8555 or the Child Car Restraint Information Line on 1300 780 173.