Frequently Asked Questions
What is the safest car seat? - The safest car seat has nothing to do with brand, make or model. The safest seat is one that fits your child, fits your car and is installed and used correctly every time. That includes the use of a tether strap where fitted, and tight, secure seat belts to hold the car seat and child in place. Following the car seat manufacturers information also reduces the chances of poor installation and use.
When can my child ride in the front seat? - The back seat is the safest place for children under 12 years of age. Never place a rear facing seat in the front with an airbag, even if it is only for a trip up the road. The largest percentage of accidents happen only a few kilometers from home, placing your child rear facing in the front seat could cause serious injury or death in unlikely event of an accident.
Only put forward facing child in the front seat (under the age of 12 years) when the back seat has no spare seats. Move the passenger seat back as far as possible and restrain the child correctly according to your child's weight and height. If the back seat is available use it at all times.
Why rear face? - Rear facing offers greater safety benefits to your child during a sudden stop or accident. The forces received during the impact are distributed over the entire seat, therefore the child receives less of the impact forces. It also offers protection to the child's head and neck.
What about air bags? - NEVER place a rear facing child restraint in the front seat with air bags. Your child could be seriously injured due to the force of an air bag during an accident. Injuries include but are not limited to burns, head and neck injuries and death.
How can I see my baby then? - Mirrors can be purchased to place on the back seat, these reflect into the rear view mirror so you can see your child. If your child is high risk, such as infantile apnea, always have someone travel in the back seat with them, or check with your child's medical provider before using the car seat.
My booster seat says it can be used from 14kgs, can I start using it now? - If your child is 14kgs and still able to fit in their car seat it is safest to keep them in there. Car seats offer use up to between 18kg (40lb) and 36kg (80lb) depending on brand. It pays not to be in a hurry to swap your child from car seat to booster.
Child Safety Harness
When is my child ready to wear only an adult belt?
While age is not a factor, most children will outgrow their booster seat some time between 8 and 12 years of age. Remember that there are 10% of children who still require a booster seat at 12 years of age.
There is a "5 step test" that can be used to see if your child is big enough for an adult belt alone, this test will need to be performed for every car your child uses.
1. Does the child sit all the way back against the auto seat?
2. Do the child's knees bend comfortably at the edge of the auto seat?
3. Does the belt cross the shoulder between the neck and arm?
4. Is the lap belt as low as possible, touching the thighs?
5. Can the child stay seated like this for the whole trip?
If you answered "no" to any one of these, then your child is too small, and needs a booster seat. Click here for more information on seat belts.
Although you may think your 9 year old is fine using an adult belt only, the child may not yet be physically and mentally mature enough for a belt only, the child needs to be able to keep the belt on their body correctly for the whole trip, this means they do not put the sash portion behind their back, or under their arm, and that their body form is more adult like in figure, so the belt sit low enough over their hips and away from their neck. If not, continue using a booster seat designed for your child's weight.
Do I need to use the tether? - Yes, if your car seat is produced and sold with a tether strap you need to use it. The reason for using the tether is because:
1. It was crash tested this way (Safety standards)
2. It reduces head injuries in an accident
3. It keeps the seat in place and prevents the seat from tipping over in an accident.
Do not under any circumstances remove the tether strap from your child's car seat - manufacturers will refer to this as modifying your child's car seat and it will void the warrantee.
Tethers are found on all Australian car seats, including capsules and on all American seats except capsules. Many UK seats sold in New Zealand do not have top tether straps and must be installed with a full lap and sash seat belt.
What about in someone else's car or an emergency? - Always check for a tether bolt in their car, do not presume they don't have one. If there is no bolt and you must travel in their car, install the car seat as tightly as possible, and tuck the strap behind the seat so it does not strike the child's head during an accident or sudden stop. If you are traveling in this car often, please for your child's sake install a bolt in their car. Alternatively purchase a car seat without a tether strap.
Newer cars have tether bolt holes for the bolt to be screwed into, (or pre-installed under covers), check under plastic or rubber plugs for these holes, you will see thread inside the hole, the bolt will fit into this and needs to be tightened up.
When should I use a locking clip? - The locking clip is designed to be used on seat belts that do not lock when fully extended (restraint mode/locking belts). The locking clip acts as a pre-tensioner and prevents movement between the lap and sash portions of the belt. It locks the belt before the emergency locking retractor kicks in. It also offers a more secure install for your child's car seat.
What about after market goods? - Only use accessories and goods sold with your child's car seat. Using items such as head snugglers (other than those sold with the car seat) could fail in an accident and cause harm to your child. Avoid using items that interfere with the correct functioning of your car seat - this includes items placed on and behind the harness straps or child, items that affect the installation of the car seat, such as sleeping bags and any items that could act as projectiles in an accident.
Mail and Communication
Where do I send mail to? Please follow this link for postal address and email details. Contact details included. All items can be posted to that address, including larger parcels.
How can I get a car seat reviewed? - NZ Child Restraints can review any child restraint. We ask for the seat for a minimum of 10 days to allow us time to view and install the restraint. If you want the restraints returned we ask for you to provide return postage, collect the seat or arrange an alternate drop off point. Please contact us to arrange this.
How can our advertisement be placed on this site? - Please contact us for more details. We have a range of spaces available and time varies depending on what the space is for. Terms and conditions apply.
Advertisements placed on this site are made possible due to donations of child restraints, child safety products and the discretion of NZ Child Restraints. We reserve the right to refuse advertising and remove ads as needed. We will let you know prior to the expiry date of your ad when it is due to be removed from the site to allow you to renew the duration.
Who funds NZ Child Restraints? - NZ Child Restraints does not receive any funding. We rely on donations from businesses and the community. We review seats and we are able to promote your product/s based on the knowledge obtained from the review. We may exchange an ad for a donation of child restraints or other child related products, these may be sold on later. See Terms & Conditions for more information.
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