ONLY two out of 15 new car child restraints have achieved the highest safety rating.
However all were found to meet basic Australian standards.
The Child Restraint Evaluation Program ratings on 15 new car seats, using tough new standards, were released by the NSW Centre for Road Safety and the NRMA today.
The ratings use a 5-Star system similar to the Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP).
The seats tested included backward-facing restraints, forward-facing restraints and booster seats.
Only two were given five stars (excellent), eight received four stars (good), four got three stars (above average) and one was given only one star (meets Australian/NZ standards).
General manager of the NSW Centre for Road Safety, Marg Prendergast, said the ratings, which can be found on the CREP website, are designed to help inform parents before they make a purchase.
The new standard includes scores for knee forward movement in frontal impact and head protection in side impact.
A study funded by NSW Centre for Road Safety had shown that children who are restrained incorrectly are up to seven times more likely to be seriously injured in a crash, Ms Prendergast said.