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Third car child restraint incident - call to community

Third car restraint incident has Waikato Police calling for community solution

Wednesday, 21 May 2014 - 4:43pm

Waikato

In praising a dog handler for pulling over a motorist travelling with two unrestrained children in her car, a senior Waikato Police officer says if staff can apply a whole of policing approach to road safety then why can't the public adopt a whole of community solution?

District Road Policing Manager, Inspector Freda Grace, said the dog handler stopped a woman driving on Mardon Rd after spotting two young children in the back seat that gave him cause for concern.

"The mother, who was breaching the conditions of her learner driver's licence when stopped, told the officer that she was taking the four and five-year-olds down the road to the doctor's and that she did have some car seats but her sister was using them.

"Instead she put the kids in seatbelts which are totally inappropriate for young children such as these and it's really disappointing that in the last 48 hours we've seen a baby die after being unrestrained in a car that crashed, this incident and reports of a woman today travelling as a passenger in a car breast feeding an unrestrained baby in her lap."

Mrs Grace said as part of the national Road Safety Week campaign one of the focuses for road policing staff is targeting unrestrained children.

"And Police will have a zero tolerance approach to people found putting young children at risk but its not all about waving a big stick, if we can educate people we can then help prevent children at risk if the first place.

"Last week a Te Awamutu officer from the local Road Safety Team donated 10 child booster seats to a local child restraint campaign in which all bar one has now been handed out at check points, at Kawhia, Te Awamutu and Cambridge."

Mrs Grace said the officer's children had out grown the booster seats so he decided to put them towards a good cause and Police would encourage members of the public in similar situation to consider putting their unused car and booster seats to similar good use.

"During a series of checkpoints carried out across the Waipa Region last week, approximately 40% of restraints were not tethered while 70% needed adjustment and driver education.

"Police would urge retailers selling such crucial safety devices to ensure they demonstrate to parents / care givers how to use the restraints correctly."

Mrs Grace said with the outpouring of grief from large sections of the public following this week's avoidable baby death Police would like the public to show their support for not just Road Safety Week but every day being a road safety day.

"It's not just about Police, it's about the community making a stand, making a difference."

End

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