The Child Restraint Evaluation Program or CREP is a program run by Australian government agencies in partnership with motorist organizations which share the same goal of improving and ensuring the safety of children traveling in vehicles. The program was established in cooperation with the NSW Roads and Traffic Authority (RTA), NRMA Motoring & Services, RACV, VicRoads and the Transport Accident Commission (TAC).
CREP aims to educate or provide guide to car owners in their choice of child restraints and for manufacturers to adhere to the highest standard of child safety seats based on safety ratings.
The defenselessness of children when traveling in vehicles and the need to offer them the utmost protection is the inspiration of this program. Every year there are many cases of vehicular accidents involving children. Many of those children are injured or killed in car crash unprotected. These could have been prevented if all children have the right restraint suitable and fit for their age and body size.
Study shows that children who are incorrectly restrained are seven times more likely to be extremely injured in a crash than children who are correctly restrained. To make sure that your child is safe, check the restraint. Your child should be fitted and securely placed in the restraint and that the restraint is correctly fitted to the vehicle.
The latest test results from Child Restraint Evaluation Program (CREP) showed that not all child restraints are created equal. The restraints are rated according to how easy they are to use and how well they protect your children. There are three categories done in testing the restraint:
- Rearward-facing restraint: For babies up to 6 months to approximately 12 months.
- Forward- facing restraint: For young children aged 6 months to 12 months to 4 years.
- Booster seats or adjusted forward-facing restraint: For children 4 years to 7 years.
All types of restraints must be positioned and fastened properly. Your chosen design or brand must be appropriate for your child.
There are also new laws on where children can sit in vehicles.
- If the vehicle has 2 or more rows of seats, then children below 4 years old must not travel in the front seat.
- If all seats, other than the front seats are being used by children below 7 years old, children aged from 4 to 6 years may travel in the front seat, provided that they will be using an approved restraint or booster that is properly fitted.
It is also the responsibility of the driver to ensure that his child passengers are properly restrained in a seat. There will be corresponding penalties to those who will not follow the rules.
However, exemption applies only if:
- A child below 1 year old is traveling in a taxi and a suitable restraint is not available, then the child must not travel in the front seat.
- A child is traveling in a police car or emergency car.
- When a child has a medical condition or physical disability that makes it impossible to use a child restraint, then the driver must have a certificate from a doctor indicating that the child have this condition.
Remember as parent or a driver, you must choose the right restraint that provides the highest possible protection for your child passenger.