Horizons partner up to educate about child restraints

Horizons Regional Council is partnering up with the NZ Police and Plunket to educate the public about appropriate child restraints.

Horizons road safety coordinator Debbie Webster says Horizons have run this programme before, creating check points with the Police and Plunket, and found it to be highly successful.

“The most common issues we have found include tether straps not being used, expired car seats, car seats that children have outgrown and seats that don’t fit in the car correctly,” says Ms Webster.

“Children are particularly vulnerable in crashes because they are smaller and have different body shapes. A booster seat lifts the child up to a position where the vehicle seatbelt will sit against their body in the best position to protect them from injury in a sudden stop or crash.”

The law requires that children up to the age of seven years use an approved child restraint, while children aged between seven and eight should use a restraint if one is available. Research indicates that children should stay in a booster seat until they are 148cm tall.

When installed correctly, child car restraints reduce the risk of death for infants by up to 70 per cent, for toddlers by up to 54 per cent, and the need for hospitalisation for children four years and under by up to 69 per cent.

The message about being restrained properly is not solely aimed at parents of young children but also at the general public. 

Ms Webster says, “it’s really interesting when we talk to school aged children and ask them who in their family doesn’t wear a seatbelt, their response is often “mum or dad”.  It’s about role modelling the message to our children.”

Further information on appropriate child restraints, and qualified technicians can be found on www.nzta.govt.nz.