How do carseats work in an accident?

We all use car seats because they are protective in a car accident. A child restraint is designed to spread the forces of a collision over a child’s body so as to reduce the tissue damage that would result if it were applied to only a small area (such as when a child’s head hits a windscreen). Carseats and capsules are made with energy absorbing material and in comparison to the hard interior of the car or objects outside the car, mean that the deceleration is slower and the resultant forces being exchanged are reduced.

The four main functions of a seatbelt or child restraint are to:

  • Prevent the child from hitting the vehicle interior or intruding objects;
  • Spread the forces over strong parts of the body – the bony pelvis and rib cage;
  • Limit harmful movements of the body, such as excessive bending of the spine and forward momentum of the head and neck;
  • Allow the crumple zone of the car to absorb the energy exchanged during a crash rather than a child’s body, which would occur if the child were not held firmly within their seat.

Videos of how child car seats are tested by CREP (the Child Restraint Evaluation Program) can be reviewed here:

In order for a restraint to perform these functions optimally, it is important that children are in the correct restraint for their age and size, that they are using the restraint properly and that the restraint has been correctly installed in the vehicle to the manufacturer’s instructions. Furthermore, there should be no objects that interfere with the correct performance of a restraint during a crash (additional aftermarket accessories for example) or that can collide with the child or another occupant in the vehicle (loose items in the boot or seat that can become projectiles and injury an occupant).

If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to contact our Restraint Fitting Team on 1300 859 775 or via email at