Child restraints are safer than ever but the information about which ones to use and how to use them can be so overwhelming. From the laws around what type of child car seat you need to knowing if you have installed them correctly, Hire for Baby is here to help!

About 6 weeks before my daughter turned 3 I walked into a baby shop to buy her a new car seat. We were expecting baby number two any day so needed somewhere for the new baby to sit. Up until that point she had been sitting in a rear-facing restraint. She still fit so I knew that is where she was safest. As an over-cautious mama I was still toying with the idea of purchasing a seat where she could rear face for a little bit longer, perhaps another year until she turned 4.

I explained this to the shop assistant who looked at me like I had three heads. “You want a rear-facing seat for HER?” she asked incredulously. Not quite the reaction I was expecting, especially from a sales assistant in a baby shop. The reality is that the laws in Australia surrounding child restraints are quite different to what is happening in practice.

The laws are very simple: 0-6 months rear facing, 6 months to 4 years, rear or forward facing, and 4-7 years forward facing child restraint, or booster (your child must meet the height requirements to transition to the next stage of child restraint).

In practice many parents are keeping their children rear facing as long as possible, and for older children keeping them in a harnessed child restraint for as long as possible. Manufacturers are now making more extended rear facing models, as well as restraints for taller children.

Adding to this complexity around car seats – the difference between what the law says and what is best practice – is the sheer choice of child restraints available and finding the right one to suit your child, your family and also your car. If you need to fit three car seats across the back seat of a car you will be far more limited for choice than you will be if you are expecting your first baby and driving a large SUV.

When it comes to fitting your restraints correctly you also want peace of mind that your most precious cargo is secured as safely as they can be. If you have any doubt about the safety of your car seats, Hire for Baby has designed 10 quick questions so you can tell for sure. They also created these 10 quick child restraint checks, which will give you peace of mind that your car seats are installed correctly or alert you to any possible dangers.

Hire for Baby isn’t just for hiring baby equipment. At each of their 75 locations around Australia you can book in to have your car seat fitted or checked by a professional. They also offer parent workshops to give you the confidence you need to use and maintain your car restraints going forward.

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