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Extensive development work and research informed AuSAP’s program of work


The development of the Australian Safety Assessment Program (AuSAP) involved nearly 12 months of research and investigation (2020/2021) into standards, regulations, policy, programs and products.

The review included understanding prescribing practices of Australian allied health professionals and our knowledge about the safety and performance of the vehicle restraint systems used by children with disabilities and medical conditions, including:

Further, MACA's national survey identified specialty harnesses/vests as the most commonly prescribed device by Australian allied health professionals, and will therefore be included in future AuSAP activities.

Scope of work

The review identified that AuSAP should include special purpose car seats, modified car seats and specialty harnesses/vests.

Australian standard car seats were not included as they are already supported by Australian/New Zealand standards, and the Child Restraint Evaluation Program.

The Expert Committee identified significant gaps in research and knowledge relating to modified car seats and specialty harnesses/vests, requiring further research prior to assessment and testing. Therefore AuSAP’s first assessment activities are focused on special purpose car seats.

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Special purpose car seats

The AuSAP program development, and MACA's national survey, revealed that the current products available in the Australian market were not meeting the range of user needs.

A desktop review of special purpose car seats available in Australia and globally was undertaken. This review found six products available in Australia, and further products for consideration from the global market.

MACA worked with Australian importers to seek their interest in participating in AuSAP and introducing or increasing their special purpose car seat range. During this process, the project team discovered that many importers had faced barriers to introducing special purpose car sets in Australia. The lack of knowledge about special purpose car seats and oversight in Australian standards, policy and legislation has deterred industry from supplying products to the Australian market.

In 2021, MACA issued an Expression of Interest to participate in AuSAP. You can read more about AuSAP participants here.

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Research and knowledge gaps

Modified car seats

In response to the gaps in research and knowledge, Neuroscience Research Australia offered a PhD scholarship to investigate modified car seats and allied health professional practice.

Specialty harnesses/vests

MACA sought funding to undertake research and investigation into specialty harnesses/vests and we are leading a two year Austroads project for both Australia and New Zealand.

MACA is undertaking this project in partnership with The George Institute for Global Health.

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We pay respect to the Traditional Custodians of all lands, past, present & future. Honouring all Elders and nurturing all young people.