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Council steps up 'Buckle Up' Campaign 2004

18 June 2004

Council steps up 'Buckle Up' Campaign 2004

Manukau City Council says more parents should 'buckle up' their children after finding that Manukau City has the lowest rates for using child restraints in the world.

Manukau Mayor Sir Barry Curtis says wearing a safety belt increases the chance of surviving a crash by 40 percent.

"Parents take heed, buckling up should be your first priority before starting a vehicle. Not ensuring the safety of your passengers and children makes you ultimately responsible in the event of death. It's the same thing as watching a child run across a busy road and not trying to prevent or stop it" said Sir Barry.

"If everybody wore safety belts, around 35 lives, 250-300 injuries and millions of dollars could be saved every year," he said.

Failing to use a child restraint is the number one priority for Council's Road Safety team and they are raising awareness of the issue through the 'Buckle Up Child Restraints Project.

The 'Buckle Up' campaign is rolling out in Manukau City and the Papakura District informing parents and caregivers of the legal need to ensure children are safely secured in a child restraint when in a vehicle.

The Buckle-Up campaign targets at-risk communities across Mangere, Otara, Pakuranga, Howick, Manurewa, Alfriston, Clevedon and Papatoetoe.

The focus of this campaign is to educate people who carry children in their vehicles about the importance of correctly utilizing child restraints. This will be done by involving Early Childhood Centres(ECC) - Te Kohanga Reo(TKR), Language Nests(LN) and Kindergartens and organising interactive sessions called Child Restraint Roadshows at their venue.

Initial feedback from the campaign has shown that fathers showed a lot of concern and interest regarding child restraints; young parents wanted to know where to get them and how to use them correctly; grandparents wanted to know how to buckle up their grandchildren; and big families with 4 or more children raised the issue of their inability to afford them.

Council says it has more to do in terms of educating caregivers on choosing the right restraints for their children, and correct installation of the tether straps. Affordability for ensuring the correct tether straps are affixed is an issue as well.

Council, in keeping with its Road Safety Plan 2004 - 2007 and "Tomorrow's Manukau*, has been collaborating with agencies such as the ACC, Police, Community Groups, Health Pacifica, Otara Health, MUMA, SMACS, Pacific Road Safety and Plunket to conduct the interactive sessions. The facilitators involve Safe2Go technicians within the community.

Police enforcement and checkpoints will be carried out as a part of the project to help communicate that the law requires parents and caregivers to buckle children in correctly and the fine for not wearing a safety belt or using a child restraint is $150.00 per passenger.


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