Why price means little when choosing a carseat

<i>Source: Child Car Seats</i>
Source: Child Car Seats 

Parents have been warned to not assume their child's carseat is as safe as possible simply because it was expensive.

The important message from the NRMA comes after testing by the motoring organisation revealed two expensive carseats scored just one star out of a possible five in safety ratings.

The NRMA has released results from the Child Restraint Evaluation Program. While no model scored the maximum five stars for protection, five of the new models scored four stars, nine made three stars, one received two stars and two got just one star.

Speaking about the findings NRMA's Senior Policy Advisor Dimitra Vlahomitros said the lowest scoring restraints still met the Australian Standard, however their safety fell short against competing carseats.

"It is disturbing to see two restraints achieving only one star in our test program, especially since the testing program has been running for 15 years," she said.

"The fundamental message to parents from these tests is that safety does not necessarily come at a price and that price is not the guarantor of safety."

The Safety 1st Sentinel II and the Maxi-Cosi Mico AP ISOGO were the two seats which scored only one star in the CREP testing. Despite its low score, the Maxi-Cosi has a recommended retail price fo $549 and was the most expensive restraint tested by NRMA in this round.

Meanwhile, the Mother's Choice Silver Embrace scored four stars in rear-facing mode but sells for only $169 and the Babylove booster seat also provides a four-star rating for only $70.

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The CREP tests assess child restraints to a higher protection level than specified by the Australian Standard and are supported by NRMA, Transport for NSW, RACV, VicRoads and the Transport Accident Commission.

In addition to protection levels, CREP also tests childseats for ease of use.

In the latest round of testing only seat, the Safe-N-Sound Trufix, scored above 3 stars in that category.

Centre for Road Safety spokesperson Bernard Carlon said this result was concerning as children incorrectly secured are seven times more likely to receive life threatening injuries than those properly secured.

Concerned parents and carers wanting information about carseat safety and advice about having seats correctly fitted can visit childcarseats.com.au.

Full results from the latest round of CREP tests can be found here.