There is nothing particularly easy about kids and car seats. Every parent can recall a time they’re battled to fasten the belt on a writhing, back-arching toddler.
But there’s another struggle up to 70 per cent of us have in common: installing the car seat correctly in the first place.
And apparently it’s not our fault.
The real problem? The instructions are too hard to follow.
"We found that parents really can't understand the instructions and this is linked to the types of errors they are making in using restraints," explains Julie Brown, senior research scientist at Neuroscience Research Aus (NeuRA).
"But we've also identified a method for improving the way in which instructions are developed," she says.
Brown’s team at NeuRA studied feedback from real people trying to follow the instructions. They did it over and again, until almost all seats were correctly installed.
"Each round of change led to increasingly positive feedback," says Brown.
The research revealed that the most people struggle with fitting the restraints in the right direction, or not tightening the straps sufficiently.
"In the field, we see anything you can imagine which could possibly go wrong actually going wrong."
Over the course of the study, it emerged that there were fewer errors as the clarity of the instructions improved.
Brown and her team have now completed a new set of instructions that are more accessible and easier to understand.