Australian Standards are SHIT

Nikki - posted on 01/04/2011 ( 36 moms have responded )

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Just having a little bitch because I had to turn my 14 month old from rear facing to forward facing in her car seat yesterday and I am rather pissed about it! Australian standards state that a child can only be rear facing until 12kg therefore there are no rear facing car seats on the market that cater for heavier weights. I am pissed because the information is so dam outdated and it puts my daughter at risk, I want to keep her rear facing until she is 2 or even 3 but legally I can't, I even looked at importing car seats from the US but it's not allowed. How can something that's safer not be allowed!! I wish there was something I could do to change it! Shit!

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Nikki - posted on 05/21/2011

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Mel the US has a much bigger population than Australia. Plus of you look at Sweden, where all their children are rear facing until 7 I think, they have a zero fatality rate. I have seen statistic before Theresa but they are not very conclusive because they don't factor whether or not the child was in a rear facing seat.

Charlie - posted on 05/21/2011

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It has nothing to do with cars or speeds the fact is it has been scientifically proven that it is safer FOR EVERYONE to travel backwards ...even adults however this isnt something we can do considering the driver NEEDS to see forward ...a child in a car seat does not .


Australia was one of the first countries to indroduce the child car seats in the 70’s and also the first country to enforce use of the top tether strap.

However, at this point Australia does not promote what some of the other leading countries in child safety do in stressing the importance of a child continuing to ride rearward in the car.

In a front-end collision, the head of a forward-facing car occupant will be thrown forward with considerable force. Its momentum propels it downwards onto the breastbone and then back up again. An adult neck can withstand this strain relatively well, a small child’s neck cannot.

There is a good reason why more infants and toddlers die in car accidents in Australia than in Sweden and that is the higher risk we take turning kids around so early .

In this case Australia is lagging behind .....and it sucks because it IS at the risk of the child .

Sneaky - posted on 05/20/2011

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The response that I got from my local Mp was that the importation of goods is a federal matter and must be addressed to my local federal member. No response from them yet - NOT holding my breath!

What brand of car seat do you have Nikki - it would be too much to hope that it is the same as mine! I will have to start looking into it soon, bub is about 10 kg now I think ;o(

Sneaky - posted on 01/05/2011

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Roads and Traffic minister???? I was also thinking a few letters to the NRMA actually - they are pretty good about getting behind reforms to our antiquated road laws????

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Nikki - posted on 05/22/2011

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Maybe we need to get a petition going and send it to the federal minister?

Rebecca - posted on 05/22/2011

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I know that some children hate facing backwards- my daughter screams her lungs out just ducking to the shops for 5 minutes. I tried everything- toys, music, even dvds. Nothing works. So travelling anyway is painful!!!

HOWEVER- I still kept her rear-facing for as long as her car seat would allow me. Ours only lasted till 8kgs, which absolutely devastated me. She is 17 months old now, and doesn't weigh much- but she is abnormally tall. I have just hired one that lasts up till 12kgs from a friend, but she is only about 1cm away from her head being above the back of the car seat. I got pulled over by the police and he not so nicely warned me that I needed to turn her around very soon. My son is 3 in July and I wish I could face him back too. Its so scary to think of the damage that could be done. And even though my little girl screams at me everytime we go somewhere (I don't drive very often because of it)- I would prefer hear her screaming than to not have her at all.

I think there needs to be more public discussion about this issue. I did not know the risks until my daughter was born and a nurse told me about it in the hospital. I had my son forward facing at 6 months!! I almost started crying when I thought about it. Until the standards are changed, the government needs to do some ads about it on TV so that mums that don't realise can see the dangers. There will be those who don't take much notice of it- but there are mums out there like me who genuinely do not know!

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Does anyone have stats on how many infants/toddlers die or are severely injured in accidents versus how many are in accidents? The number of deaths wouldn't mean much (other than being sad) if the percentage was lower....

Mel - posted on 05/21/2011

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someone on here said many more children and infants die in the US then here, and they rear face Loureen. Not that this is a debate just saying. We must be doing something right.

Mel - posted on 05/21/2011

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my carseats are 8kg Nikki, your lucky yours go to 12kg since its clear you are all for rearward facing. I personally think that people should take into consideration that are speed limits are different our car seats are made different everything is so different therefore I choose to believe (and hope that I am right) that our cars seats and laws are safe

Nikki - posted on 05/20/2011

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I have the Britax AHA Platinum, it is the most expensive on the market but it is a big, very easy to use and comfortable seat. Plus it's rated as the safest, especially in side impact crashes. and it has speakers in the head rest so I don't have to listen to disney music 24/7! Rear facing limit is 12kg, but like I said before the lady I spoke with said they had been tested higher for overseas models. Issy is only 12.5kg at the moment I think once she reaches 13-14kg I will import one from overseas.

Aleks - posted on 05/20/2011

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Tracy, I know that Britax ( ie, Safe'n'sound) do convertible baby seats that now go up to 12kg rear-ward facing. They are not cheap... but hey, safety does cost a little bit more, but for the piece of mind..... who's counting,hey?

Nikki - posted on 05/20/2011

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I have been meaning to do that Lacye, to be honest I haven't thought about it much because I found out from my car seat company that my seat has been crash tested on higher weights and is safe, but they can't advertise that because of Aus standards. So I switched Issy back to RF "illegally". But I should look into it.

Lacye - posted on 05/20/2011

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I'm not from Australia but I went and joined the group anyways! :D I don't know much about the Australian government but do you have a representative in your area that you can write to and see if they would be interested in helping change these laws?

Nikki - posted on 01/06/2011

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Yay well done Tracey, great idea, I sent a request, and posted it on my page :)

Sneaky - posted on 01/06/2011

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Niki, I watched that clip for the first time last night - I cried when the forward crash test dummy crashed. If there is any way on earth I can figure out how to turn my two year old rear facing again I'll be doing it!

Nikki - posted on 01/06/2011

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No Mandy it is not safe, simple physics really. It's not nicer, it is very unsafe and so many mothers in Australia are dangerously uninformed which puts their babies lives at risk.

Melissa - posted on 01/06/2011

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Hi did you knw our car seats are made differently to the US. Our laws are like this because of the way the car seats are made (So I hear). They are so different I think it is much nicer for them to be forward facing I couldt bare to have my children rear facing that long. My children were switched at 4 and a half months. I wouldnt worry about it honestly. She will be fine she is over 1

Aleks - posted on 01/05/2011

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You are so right Renae! But hey, Joooolia won't do squat! She only does half-arsed policies that cost a lot of money... he he he.

But you and Tracey are totally right! I will be in it.

And funny, I used to live in Jooooooolia's seat!!!! Hey, my parents still do!



Yeah, like who do you write into? The relevant minister or your local MP?

Sneaky - posted on 01/05/2011

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If someone has an idea about starting a petition or a letter writing campaign I'd be in . . . I just have no idea how to go about that myself.

Renae - posted on 01/05/2011

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Australian standards always take so long to change. And then when they do decide to sit up and listen to the research, they listen to whatever crap is being promoted by the university with the highest PR budget and best advertising company - often misinterpreting the research results! I really want to know who is responsible for some of the standards and decisions our government makes. Like, who the hell writes some of the BS health services protocols? - Many of which I disagree with!

Aussie government likes to sit back and wait for something serious to happen before they do anything about it. We are retroactive, they wouldn't know proactive if it smacked them in the face. :)

Aleks - posted on 01/05/2011

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Totally agree!
Our standards are like 20yrs behind EU and USA

I am just glad that my LO is really a little one.
Just over 9kg at 22mths. She still rearward facing and will remain there ... for as long as she fits that way in her seat.

But not good for others who's kids are of the average size.
:(

Nikki - posted on 01/05/2011

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Wow Tracey, that's terrible. It's not something I have ever thought of until I had my daughter. I was talking to my MIL about it and she was telling me how she used to drive breastfeeding my hubby when he was a baby!

Sneaky - posted on 01/04/2011

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Until March last year it was legal to have a one year old in a booster with an adult seat belt around them . . . .apparently someone finally noticed that all these kids were dying from internal injuries after low speed crashes and the law finally got changed, but that took at least five years (that I am aware of - it could have been longer). Sigh.

Nikki - posted on 01/04/2011

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Good idea Krista, I think I am going to write to my local council member and see if he can point me in the right direction, I really want to do something about it. I am not really aware of any parenting groups but I am going to research and see what I find. It just drives me insane that so many mothers are so uninformed by our government, the current recommendation is that it's safe to turn your baby at 6 months!!

Krista - posted on 01/04/2011

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Does Australia have any sort of parenting lobby group? The only way it's going to change is if you get a bunch of people behind you, and make enough of a stink that you get some media coverage.

Good luck -- I think it royally SUCKS that you guys have your hands tied like that when it comes to your options.

Sneaky - posted on 01/04/2011

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My husband would LOVE to import some car seats. Apparently overseas you can get them made out of aluminum, instead of just the plastic junk we have here. Grrrrr.

As to the standards, the Australian Standard has a set of guidelines that manufacturers must comply with to prove/ensure that their car seats meet the requirements of the standard. Then the Australian Standards will 'certify' that that car seat meets the Australian Standard. Since the current standard is that rear facing car seats need to only go up to 12kg, then that is what all the car seats are certified for. Someone from Australian Standards is NEVER going to say that a rear facing car seat may be safe above that weight because they only approve them up to 12kg. When it comes to the actual functional ability of the car seat I would be asking my local car seat seller/fitter or actually contacting the manufacturers themselves to see if they have done safety testing beyond the 12kg mark. As much as I believe that my current rear facing car seat will be safe beyond 12kg, I won't be using it beyond 12 kg until I see the safety testing report!

Katherine - posted on 01/04/2011

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That's craziness! According to the AAP (I don't know if that's national or worldwide) it is much safer to be rear facing at that age.

Nikki - posted on 01/04/2011

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Thanks Tracey, I actually spoke with someone from Aus standards and asked if it was safe to keep her rear facing past 12kg, and of course they said no, but I have also heard from other's that it's ok, so I am torn. It's funny I was looking on some websites this morning and there's all this crap about us having the safest restrictions in the world!! yeah right. I just wish that it was ok to import car seats. Or that something could be done to change our current standards.

Sneaky - posted on 01/04/2011

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I know :o( Going to try and keep mine rear facing as long as possible too. I think that you can get them rear facing to 14 kg now, the law doesn't say that you have to turn them at 12kg, but most car seats have not been tested past 12kg to see if they are safe for heavier babies.I was actually discussing this with my local car seat fitter recently and his opinion is that most of the car seats that are safe to 12/14kg are safe up to 18/20 kg, but the manufacturers have not done the testing to prove it yet. His advice was to 'wait', the manufacturers will catch on to what the consumers want, but I am not holding my breath!

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