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Incorrectly Fitted Child Restraints Endanger Kids

Incorrectly Fitted Child Restraints Put NZ Kids At Risk

There are fears that up to 50 percent of children are travelling in incorrectly fitted child restraints, putting their lives at risk each time the family motor vehicle is used, according to the October Reader’s Digest and the Royal New Zealand Plunket Society.

In a child restraint check held earlier this year to examine the problem, Reader’s Digest and Plunket discovered that of the 15 parents who brought their vehicles in for checking, all had failed to restrain their children correctly.

While it should be easy to install a child restraint, often it’s not. There are 50 or more different models of child restraints, hundreds of cars and a variety of safety-belt systems in New Zealand, some are even sold without installation instructions.

Sue Campbell, Plunket’s national child safety adviser, says the result is that tens of thousands of New Zealand parents fail to buckle their kids into correctly installed child restraints.

While Plunket has car seat rental schemes in most towns and cities in New Zealand, there are still many parents who swap child restraints, buy them second-hand, use them when they are damaged or ill-fitting, or don’t follow the fitment instructions.

Another issue is the use, or lack of use, of the tether strap. If a restraint has a tether strap, it must be used, according to Sue Campbell.

“It is not there for decoration, it is part of the restraint’s design and when fitted, significantly reduces the chances of serious neck and head injury to the child. If left dangling at the back of the seat, it could flick forward on impact and smash the child’s face”, said Sue Campbell.


According to Sue Campbell, New Zealand kids would be safer if the government allowed only the importation of child restraints that complied with the Australia/New Zealand standard.

She also advocates that all new and imported motor vehicles should be fitted with anchorage systems for child restraints.

Reader’s Digest has provided 25,000 complimentary reprints of the article which will be distributed through Plunket clinics car seat rental schemes, childcare centres, Vehicle Testing NZ stations, the ASG Parent and Child Show in Auckland and to drivers stopped in the proposed November Police and Plunket roadside checks.

Managing director, Nick McRae, said the article gives advice on fitment and buying or hiring the restraint that will best secure your child in your motor vehicle.

“The situation is alarming. We wanted to ensure that as many parents as possible had the opportunity to read the story, afterall, the experts agree that installing your child restraint correctly can mean the difference between life and death.”

Ends

For further information contact: Joanne Ruscoe on 471-6252 (business) or 04 479 2923 (home) or 025 925 733 (mobile); or Sue Campbell, National Safety Adviser, Royal New Zealand Plunket Society, on 03 471 9765 (business); 025 244 4430 (mobile)

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