car seat professionally fitted by Hire for baby car fitter

A common question new mums ask is “Should I get my car seat professionally fitted?”

When it comes to the safety of your children travelling in vehicles, its always advisable to err on the side of caution. If you’re not 100% confident that you are fitting your car seat or child restraint properly, then visit a professional who can help you. It is such a small price to pay for peace of mind and for the safety of your little bundle of joy.

Locally-based restraint fitters and baby equipment hire company, Hire for Baby, share some fantastic information about what car seat professionals do and why you should consider using one.

What Do Qualified Car Seat Fitters Do?

Most qualified child restraint fitters will either fit your car seat for you or check if your car seat is currently installed correctly. They also can advise you on how to fit more than 1 car seat in your vehicle (this is always a tricky one to figure out).

If they are installing the car seat for you, a professional can show you how to change the belt heights as needed. They can also give you a daily checklist to go over before strapping your little ones in their car seat. 

If your car seat is already fitted, a qualified seat fitter can check if it has been installed correctly. There may be an additional fee if the car seat needs to be refitted again. 

10 Quick Child restraint Checks You Can Do Yourself

  1. Is the seatbelt secure and untwisted?
  2. If the child restraint is rearward facing, is it touching the front seat?
  3. Is the child restraint sitting squarely on the seat of the car and is the headrest in the correct position?
  4. Is the top tether in the correct position?
  5. Is the seatbelt buckle in the right place?
  6. Is the shoulder level correct?
  7. Is the tether tension belt attached and slack removed?
  8. Have you removed any thick clothing?
  9. For younger kids, is the harness level with your kid’s shoulders at the top? Is the harness not too tight or loose? Are the shoulder pads in the correct position?
  10. For older kids is the seatbelt across their shoulder and hips?

When Can My Child Use an Adult Seatbelt?

Before your kids can get out of their booster and use the grown up seatbelts, they need to pass the 5 checks listed below. 

  1. Sit with their backs firmly against the seat back.
  2. Bend their knees comfortably over the front of the seat cushion.
  3. Sit with the sash belt across their mid-shoulder.
  4. Sit with the lap belt across the top of their thighs.
  5. Sit properly, no slouching or leaning over

Ordinarily kids are usually between the ages of 10 or 12 before they start using an adult seatbelt correctly. This is because adult seatbelts are designed for people who are at least 145 cm tall.

Understanding the Laws in Australia Regarding Car Seats for Children

It’s imperative that before you buckle your newborn into their car seat, you make yourself familiar with the laws surrounding the use of child restraints in your vehicle. The minimum legal requirements for using child car seats in Australia are based on age:

  • Children under six months must use a rear-facing child car seat with an inbuilt harness.
  • Children aged six months up to four years must use a rear-facing or forward-facing child car seat with an inbuilt harness.
  • Children aged four years up to seven years must use a forward-facing child car seat with an inbuilt harness or a booster seat with an adult lap-sash seatbelt or child safety harness.
  • Children aged seven years and older must use a booster seat with an adult lap-sash seatbelt or child safety harness, or a standard seat with an adult seatbelt.

It’s always safest to keep your child in the car seat that’s most appropriate for your child’s size, regardless of age. Therefore, the law also allows for the following:

  • Children who are too small for the car seat that’s specified for their age group can stay in their current seat until they grow into the seat for the next age group.
  • Children who are too big for the child car seat that’s specified for their age can move to the seat specified for the next age group.

The shoulder height markers on car seats show when your child is big enough to start using a particular car seat, when you can convert the seat to the next use, and when your child is too big for the seat.

Hire for Baby is Australia’s largest, oldest and most trusted baby equipment hire service. You can save time, money and storage space by hiring good quality baby equipment that you may only need for a day, a week or a few months. Their range includes carseats, capsules, bassinets, hammocks, strollers, swings, entertainers, breast pumps and much more. Their qualified car restraint fitters provide a complimentary fitting of hired baby capsules and car seats (when you collect). If you have your own car seat and are unsure about how to install it, Hire for Baby can either fit your car seat for you or check if your car seat is currently installed correctly.