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Parents urged to show restraint with unsafe car seats

5 October 2017

The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) is urging parents and caregivers to ensure any child car restraints they have purchased, or plan to purchase, meet mandatory Australian safety standards.

The warning comes after Fair Trading product safety officers spotted a non-compliant car restraint for sale online. The non-compliant product, which is no longer online, was promoted as ‘Safety Baby Child Car Seat – Toddler infant convertible booster’, however similar unsafe goods can be marketed under various names.

These car restraints have been found to be similar in design and marketing to goods that the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) issued a Public Warning notice about in 2011.

These products are likely to fail to protect children adequately in an accident, with suppliers incorrectly claiming the products are safe for use.

Consumers should not purchase these products. Any consumers who have already purchased one of these child car restraints are advised to stop using them immediately.

While this particular unsafe product is no longer being sold online, the OFT warns similar products, which are unlikely to pass Australia’s mandatory safety standards, may be available online on sites such as eBay and Gumtree.

In Australia, car restraints must comply with a mandatory safety standard. The safety standard includes various requirements for performance, design and construction. If a car restraint does not comply with the mandatory safety standard, it is not fit, nor safe, nor legal to be sold in Australia as it would potentially place lives at risk.

Fair Trading Executive Director Brian Bauer said the easiest way to confirm a car seat or restraint is safe is by checking whether it meets the mandatory Australian safety standard.

“Look for a label that says Complies with Australian Standard AS/NZS 1754 – if you can’t see this, don’t buy it,” Mr Bauer said.

“If a car restraint does not meet the mandatory safety standard, it is unlikely to be able to protect a child adequately in a car accident.

“Don’t gamble with your child’s safety by purchasing an unsafe car restraint.”

The following should be followed when purchasing children’s car restraints:

  • Look for a label that says Complies with Australian Standard AS/NZS 1754 – if you can’t see this label, do not buy the product.
  • Make sure the seat or restraint is suitable for the type of car, and age and size of child.
  • If buying second-hand, check the condition of the product. Do not buy if it shows signs of wear and tear, such as cracks or frays in the straps.
  • If buying second-hand, ask if it has been in a car accident. If it has, do not buy, even if it looks fine.
  • If you are buying a product second-hand, check the Product Safety Recalls website to ensure it hasn’t been subject to a previous safety recall.
  • Do not buy or use a product more than ten years old. The date of manufacture is often stamped in the product.
  • Compliant products will always come with manufacturer’s instructions for installation and use. When installing, follow the instructions. If you do not have instructions (for example, if you purchased second hand), contact the manufacturer or an authorised safety restraint fitting station.
  • It is important to remember that children’s car restraints in Australia must be fitted with a top tether strap, even if they have the ISOFIX system.

Suppliers may face heavy fines, enforcement action and safety recalls if they sell child car restraints that do not meet the standard.

Further information on the child car restraint standard and product safety recalls can be found at www.productsafety.gov.au.

Consumers and traders can report unsafe products to the OFT at www.qld.gov.au/fairtrading or by calling 13 QGOV (13 74 68).

Australian standard sticker

Non compliant car restraint

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Last updated
5 October 2017
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