Ensure Child Car Seats Are Used Properly
18 December, 2003
Ensure child car seats are used properly these holidays
ACC is urging parents and caregivers to ensure their children's car seats are properly fitted and used when heading off on holiday this summer.
ACC Child Safety Programme Manager Diana Pedlow says child car seats can reduce the likelihood of death or injury in a crash by as much as 70 percent.
"Unfortunately, it's not uncommon for Police to find seats are improperly installed or the children are not properly secured in them," she says.
"Every bit as frightening is that this is more common with infant seats – parents simply forget to strap the seats in the cars because they are frequently taken in and out of cars.
"When this is the case, the seats can be little better than useless."
Ms Pedlow says car crashes are the second highest cause of injuries resulting in death among children. In the 12 months to September 2003, nine children under 15 were killed as passengers. Two were aged under five.
Around 1200 road injuries occur each year to children under 15 with 600 of those being under nine.
"If car seats are used correctly, they can play a big part in reducing this toll," Ms Pedlow says.
By law, every child under five must sit in an approved child restraint and children between five and seven must use one if it is available.
"An adult seat belt is not enough," Ms Pedlow says.
Restraints must also be correctly fitted in the vehicle, using a tether strap if the seat comes with one.
Ms Pedlow says it costs little more than $20 to get an anchor point for a tether strap installed into a car.
Parents who are unsure if they have the right kind of seat for their child, or how to fit it, should read their seat’s instruction manual or seek further help from a child restraint loan scheme or retailer.