SURVEYS OF CHILD RESTRAINT USE IN NEW SOUTH WALES 2001-06-0237
Child restraints are very effective at protecting young occupants in severe motor vehicle crashes. The protection provided by these devices can be reduced, however, if they are not correctly installed in the vehicle or if the child is not correctly strapped into the restraint. In order to determine the quality of installation of child restraints the Roads and Traffic Authority of New South Wales commissioned surveys of (a) child restraints fitted to unoccupied vehicles in shopping centre car parks and (b) people attending family restaurants or child care centres with children.
Car park surveys were carried out at 18 locations throughout New South Wales. Of the 1,177 cases where installation quality could be determined 20% of infant capsules and 19% of child seats were found to have safety-related installation problems.
The interview/observation survey was a pilot study. A total of 149 interviews were conducted at 12 sites in 10 towns. Overall 88% of those approached agreed to both the interview and the in-vehicle inspection of child restraints. About one quarter of the restraints were found to have safety-related installation problems. Technically the interview surveys were considered to be successful but they were found to be resource intensive.
Other sources of information about the performance of child restraints in Australia are briefly reviewed. These are: dynamic (sled) tests of child restraints under the Child Restraint Evaluation Program (CREP); consumer crash tests conducted under the Australian New Car Assessment Program and two in-depth crash studies that provided information about child occupants in crashes during the 1990s.
Michael Paine, Harry Vertsonis
International Technical Conference on Enhanced Safety of Vehicles