Choosing a car seat is one of the most important decisions you will make as a new parent. Not only does the car seat you choose need to be comfortable as your baby will be spending a lot of time napping in it, it needs to be safe. For many safety conscious parents, choosing the right car seat means checking out the Child Restraint Evaluation Program(CREP) website for ratings and comparisons.

What is CREP?

CREP is an excellent website that is aimed at providing safety information to help parents choose a safe car seat for their little ones. While all car seats that are sold in Australia have to pass a minimum safety standard, CREP helps parents find car seats that surpass the minimum standards and therefore offer a higher level of protection.

It’s not surprising that parents often rely on CREP when they’re trying to decide which car seat is best. After all, it’s natural to want to protect your precious cargo with the safest seat that money can buy. However, there are a few downsides to be aware of when using CREP as your main source of information on car seat safety.

Why You Shouldn’t Rely on CREP

  • Out of date listings - We often find the listings on CREP are out of date and this leads to parents coming into the store looking for a car seat that might be one or even two models out of date. Sometimes the particular seat they want isn’t even available any more. However, there are often newer, updated versions that have even more safety features yet aren’t listed on the CREP website.
  • New, safer models of seat are often excluded from the list - Because the listings can be out of date, newer and often safer models of car seat are often left off. This can leave parents unaware of the newest, safest seats out there, like these three for example:

    All these seats are unrated on CREP yet include some new safety features like harnesses for up to eight years. Relying on CREP alone for information could mean missing out on some of the safest, most innovative products.

  • CREP doesn’t help with the other important factors - While safety is the priority, there are other factors you need to think about when choosing a car seat. These are not covered on the CREP website and relying exclusively on the safety ratings could mean you end up with a seat that is not suited to your car, family and general lifestyle.
  • Installation has a huge impact on overall safety - Just because a car seat has a great safety rating doesn’t mean it’s automatically going to be safe. Installation plays a bigger part than many people realise when it comes to car seat safety. In fact, a recent study showed that half of all children travelling in cars in NSW are in car seats that are incorrectly installed or used.

While the CREP is a great reference guide when choosing a car seat, it’s important to look at the whole picture before making a decision. Don’t underestimate the value of talking to an experienced member of our in-store team when you’re looking for a car seat that is not only safe, but also right for your needs.