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Police, ACC Shoked - Child Travels In Foot Well

Police & ACC Staff Shoked At What They Found

New Zealand Police National News Release
8:07am 22 October 2008

22 October 2008

Hamilton Police manning a child car restraint safety checkpoint were shocked to find a young child travelling in the foot well of the front passenger seat of a car yesterday.

Sergeant Philip Ruddell of the Hamilton Strategic Traffic Unit said officers had established the checkpoints in conjunction with ACC staff in a joint operation targeting pre-schooler safety.

"Officers had set up a checkpoint in Melville yesterday afternoon when a people-mover vehicle approached and they were somewhat taken aback to find a four-year-old child sitting in the foot well of the car.

"Ironically the driver and front seat passenger were both wearing their seatbelts- ensuring their own safety yet giving no thought to the safety of the child."

The driver of that car was one of 10 recipients of tickets issued for unrestrained children aged under five, four other people were issued tickets for ineffective child restraints and three others for different car restraint issues.

"There were also another 21 infringement notices issued for other matters while several drivers were given the opportunity to properly connect tether straps or issued compliance notices," said Mr Ruddell.

ACC Injury Prevention Consultant, Lisa Taylor, said unfortunately cases such as yesterday's were not that uncommon.

"We've encountered children put under blankets or concealed by other means previously," she said.

Ms Taylor said it wasn't all doom and gloom however with several motorists learning of the checkpoints on the news pulling up and asking for advice.

"And we've seen a major turnaround from the earlier education phase where we went into the kindies to speak on the issue, we've seen a big turnaround and we're celebrating the safety message that is getting through."

The joint Police ACC checkpoints will be continuing through till Friday.


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