Safety (at) last
Finally our young ones get world’s best practice car restraints
AUSTRALIAN children are finally about to get world-class protection in cars.
But it could be a long time before Australian-made cars rise to the global standard for in-car protection, called Isofix.
Only the Holden Cruze is currently compatible with Isofix and there are no concrete plans to fit the necessary mounts to the Ford Falcon and Territory or Toyota Camry and Aurion.
Also, the Isofix system is not universal and is not fitted to most older vehicles.
Legislation is being finalised at Standards Australia to approve Isofix child seats next year, allowing them to be sold in Australia and fitted to the vast range of imported vehicles that already have the necessary mounting points in the rear seat.
The advantage of the Isofix system is that it makes it much easier to fit a baby capsule, child seat or booster.
They are clipped directly to a pair of attachment mounts which are part of the vehicle’s basic structure. There are usually two pairs of Isofix mounts, located at the base of the rear seat in the two outboard positions.
All three local makers are supporters of the Isofix move, which comes more than 15 years after Europe and a decade after the US.
The primary advantage of the system is that it makes correct fitting of child seats far easier than strapping them into a vehicle with an adult seat belt, even with the use of the top tether mandated in Australia.
‘‘ Holden is very supportive of this technology and is pleased that the legislation will be changed in the near future to support Isofix in Australia,’’ says Holden engineering manager in charge of vehicle structure and safety integration Stephen Curtis.
‘‘ The majority of Holden’s portfolio is Isofix-compatible, with the exception of Commodore, Barina Spark and Captiva.
‘‘ Holden’s engineering team is working hard to ensure these three car lines are ISOFIX compatible as we introduce model updates to these vehicles.’’
Ford is also a strong supporter and fits the mounts in a wide range of its vehicles.
‘‘ Our European-sourced vehicles are all Isofix ready and we are investigating its application across the other vehicles in our range,’’ says Neil Mcdonald of Ford Australia. ‘‘ We are looking into its application for our Australian-made vehicles.’’
The company is a global booster for the scheme, but has no detail yet on Falcon or Territory.
Toyota is also talking positively about Isofix.
‘‘ Toyota has welcomed the recent revision of Australian Design Rule 34 . . . which now more closely aligns with international standards by including allowance for Isofix,’’ Toyota says.
Market leader: Holden’s Cruze shows the way on