Road trippin' this Summer

Are you planning a road trip this summer? It's always a good idea to get your car checked before big journeys and it is also a good idea to check that your car seat is up to scratch to keep your kids safe while travelling. Check out the downloadable and printable checklist at the end!


Is your car seat still securely installed? Secure' means less than 2.5cm of movement along the belt path.

1. Stand in the vehicle’s open doorway, on the side where the child restraint has been installed.

2. Hold the child restraint near the belt path that is being used to install it.

3. Pull and push the restraint from side to side. If it moves more than 2.5cm, then you’ll know it's not installed securely enough.

4. If it moves more than 2.5cm you will need to unbuckle the seat belt and pull more slack out of the seat belt until it moves less than 2.5cm from side to side.

5. It can take a bit of effort to remove the last of the movement, rest assured the car seat can handle this type of pressure. If you’re having trouble with this send us a message here at Kids in Cars and we can give you some further tips or check out our upcoming blog post about how we get rock solid installations.

6. While you're here check that the seat belt hasn't got any twists in it. These create weak spots reducing the strength of the seat belt.

Image courtesy of


Does your car seat require tethering? Most forward facing car seats do, it is safe to assume that if a forward facing car seat has a tether attached to the back of it, it will require tethering. This significantly reduces forward movement of the car seat during a sudden stop.

Some rear facing car seats require tethering in this position, this is common in Australian Standard car seats such as Infasecure and Safe and Sound. This means you need to wrap the tether around the car seat following the guides then clip it in at the back.

Whenever tethering to the back of the car seat or boot, tighten the tether enough to remove the slack. Be careful not to overtighten as this can lift the base of the car seat up and reduce it's safety.

It is rare but some car seats recommend Swedish Tethering. In the Swedish method, the tether is attached to the car seat behind the top of the seat and attached to the vehicle at an anchor in the floor to the front of the seat, such as to the rail track for a front vehicle seat. Diono is a common brand in New Zealand that has this type of tethering while rear facing.

This image from Child Passenger Safety illustrates the two forms of rear-facing tethering.


As we all know we can be surprised by sudden growth spurts when it comes to our kids. Before heading away it's good to double check they are still fitting their car seat correctly.

  1. Harness Height - For most car seats forward facing restraints children need the harness to come from at or above their shoulders. For rearward facing children they usually need to be at or below their shoulders.

  2. Australian Standard seats such as Infasecure have different requirements as they have a different type of harness installed. In rearward facing restraints, you should use the slot that is level or slightly above your child’s shoulders. Do not use a slot if it is below your child’s shoulders. In forward facing restraints, you should use the closest slot to your child’s shoulders, but not more than 25mm below your child’s shoulders.

  3. Check that the harness straps aren't twisted as this weakens the straps and can cause injury to the child in an accident.

  4. Make sure the harness is tight and the child secured. You should be able to place your finger under the harness so that it isn’t too tight but you should not be able to pinch the harness between two fingers as this means it's too loose. The child should not be able to move his or her arms out from under the harness.

  5. Don't forget to check that they are still within the height and weight limits for your child restraint based on instructions in the manual. Check that their head is at the correct height too.


Simple things such as covering a car seat with a towel and making sure your child is wearing clothes on the parts of their skin that touch car seat parts make a huge difference in comfort and safety when the temperatures outside soar.

So those are our top tips for safe road trips with kids. Have we missed anything? Download our printable checklist for your next road trip

Road Trip Checklist
Download PDF • 64KB

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