The announcement today raising the mandatory age for child restraints will protect the most vulnerable members of our community-- children up to seven years old.
16 children a year are killed and 5 a week are hospitalised as a result of injuries they receive as passengers in motor vehicles in New Zealand. Under the current law, children up to the age of five must be placed in a children restraint such as a booster seat.
The new law will require children up to the age of seven to be placed in a restraint, while those aged between seven and eight have to use one if it is available.
"The regulation change is an important step in keeping kids safe on our roads, and we congratulate the Government for taking this important step. However according to international best practise, this is just the first step," said Ann Weaver, director of Safekids New Zealand.
Safekids New Zealand would like to see all children under the height of 148cm in a booster seat or an approved child restraint. "New Zealand has one of the highest child road fatality and injury rates in the OECD, accounting for 17 percent of all child deaths and at least one child hospitalised every week.
International best practise shows that Booster seats for school-aged kids under 148cm in height reduce the risk of hospitalisation and death by up to 59%," Ann said.
Safekids New Zealand is also running a national public awareness campaign for booster seats. Information and resources for parents and caregivers can be found on our website.
TIPS TO KEEP KIDS IN BOOSTER SEATS
- Keep using boosters even after their 7th birthday. Remember: it’s easier to keep kids in boosters longer than trying to convince a child to start using one again.
- Be a role model. Praise them for being buckled in their booster, just as you are buckled in your seatbelt. Praise them again for role modelling good safety behaviour to younger siblings.
- Boosters are COOL and NOT Baby Seats. Race car drivers use seats that are very similar to boosters, with similar safety benefits. Explain how boosters work and how they keep kids safe.
- Make it fun. Jazz it up and turn it into a pirate ship, a rocket or a fairy chariot!
- Remember 148cm. The simplest way to tell if a child needs to stay in a booster seat is if they’re under 148cm tall.
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