NSW Crashlab, a national research and commercial testing service, has conducted a series of tests to determine which car seat best protects a child from traumatic injuries in the case of a serious car accident.
A numbers of different collision possibilities were simulated at nearly 60 km/h, and 22 different car seats were tested.
The only car seat that received five stars for protection, for a head-on collision to the front or side of the car, was the Nuna Klik rear-facing car seat, currently valued at $447.00.
The dummy child in the car seat was protected from any serious injuries to the head, neck or torso.
Six of the seats received only a one star rating, including the Maxi-Cosi Luna forward-facing child seat, valued at $399, and the Babylove Cosmic 11 forward-facing child seat, valued at $169.
That does not, however, mean the seats did not meet Australia's safety standards, with the NSW Minister for Roads Melinda Pavey commenting, "If they were unsafe, we would call it out, but some prove to be better than others."
Online reviews of the Nuna Klik restraint are overwhelmingly positive, the only complaint being difficulty with installation.
With car accidents being the leading cause of death in children under the age of 14 in Australia, buying a car seat that has been extensively safety tested, and ensuring it is correctly installed, is enormously important.
Choice, the leading consumer advocacy group in Australia, has a number of recommendations when it comes to choosing the most suitable car restraint for your child.
Firstly, ensure there's a tag on the seat indicating certification to the Australian standard. It will read AS/NZS 1754 (2004, 2010, or 2013).
The restraint should also show approximate shoulder height markings, indicating whether your child is the right size for the seat.
Furthermore, ensure there is enough space in your car for the seat to fit, but also for you to lean in to fit and secure the seat belts.
And if you need assistance installing the car seat ask for help from the manufacturer or assistants in store.
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