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Don't gamble with their lives this Labour Weekend

14 October 2004

Don't gamble with their lives this Labour Weekend

Plunket's national child safety advisor, Sue Campbell, has her fingers crossed that young children travelling in cars this Labour Weekend will be safely buckled in.

"It is unbelievable that with car seats for all ages of children available through Plunket and other providers that parents are still willing to gamble with the lives of their children," said Sue Campbell.

So far this year six children under the age of five have been killed in separate road crashes, two in the far north, two in Napier and one in Tauranga. Of those four were unrestrained and details are unknown regarding the remaining two.

"It is imperative that parents think about the danger they place their children in by driving with them as unrestrained passengers. In a crash these children are severely maimed or they die.

"Holiday times, for a variety of reasons, often bring out the worst in people's driving behaviour. When travelling with young children parents must plan their trip, consider the safety of their passengers and ensure that over-crowding in the family car does not occur.

"Young children need to be considered. They haven't the patience or understanding to endure long trips without rest stops. If they become upset and cry, the driver should stop the vehicle and settle the child. The situation should not develop to the extent it causes tension or road rage," says Sue Campbell.

Plunket car seat rental schemes operate in most towns and cities in New Zealand and have skilled staff on hand to offer advice about car seats and their correct fitment. Car seats are available for hire from as little as $40 for six months.

"It is a legal requirement to ensure all passengers are restrained, including young children. If caught, the fine is substantially more than the cost of hiring a child car seat.

"Plunket has a pool of 23,000 car seats throughout New Zealand with around 80 percent hired out at any one time. Recent donations from the Road Safety Trust, Trillian Trust, Lion Foundation, The Southern Trust and the Scottwood Trust will see a further 2,000 child car seats available for hire from Plunket Car Seat Rental Schemes by Christmas", she says.

Attached: Seating scenarios
Plunket's 156 Car Seat Rental Schemes nationwide
Tips for travelling with young children

Seating Scenarios

Cars are designed with a specific number of passengers in mind. Safety belts are fitted for the appropriate number of passengers.

It is a legal requirement that all passengers in a car must be restrained. This requirement includes young children - all children under five years of age must use a child car seat that is appropriate for their weight and size. The car safety belt on its own, is not enough for children under five years of age.

It is the driver's responsibility to make sure children are buckled into appropriate restraints.

At holiday time, family cars are often heavily laden with luggage, equipment and passengers. Portable cots, buggies, favourite toys and other baby paraphernalia command space.

Passenger safety should not be compromised by additional loading of luggage and equipment. Consider the use of a trailer, roof racks or roof boxes to transport luggage or arrange to hire or borrow equipment at the holiday destination.

Some passenger vehicles have three rows of seating and varying seating configurations. The following seating scenarios are provided for a family sedan.

Two adults and one child
Adults in the front seats and the child in the back. The safest place for a child's car seat is in the centre of the back seat or behind the passenger seat. This ensures safety when buckling in the child as the adult is not standing near traffic.

Two adults and three children
Adults in the front seats and the three children restrained in the back seats. Put a car seat in the centre position, where often the car is fitted with only a lap belt. The booster seats for older children will require the use of lap/sash safety belt, as fitted for the seating positions nearest the doors.

Four adults and one child
Adults in the front seats and by the doors in the back seat, with the child restrained in a car seat in the centre of the back seat. Or, if the child is older, a booster seat with a child harness is an excellent option for this centre seating position.

Three adults and three or more children
Not in a family sedan. One adult should travel by another form of transport. The third adult may wish to take one or more of the older children with them for the travel experience, and so provide more space and comfort for the passengers in the family sedan.

One adult and four children
The adult driver and an older child in the front. Never place a rear-facing car seat on the front seat of a vehicle if there is an air-bag. Air bags inflate with sufficient force to injure a child. The three younger children restrained appropriately in the back seat.

Plunket's 156 Car Seat Rental Schemes nationwide
For contact details of the Car Seat Rental Scheme nearest to you please look in the White Pages of your local phonebook
NORTHLAND: Dargaville, Kaitaia, Kaiwaka/Mangawhai, Kerikeri (covers Kaeo and Kaikohe), Maungaturoto, Paparoa, Whangarei
WAITEMATA: Devonport, Kumeu River Valley, North Shore (Milton), Waitakere, Warkworth, Wellsford, Whangaparoa
AUCKLAND CITY: Balmoral, Sylvia Park, Waiheke Island.
COUNTIES MANUKAU: Awhitu, Howick, Mangere, Manurewa, Pokeno, Pukekohe, Papakura, Papatoetoe
WAIKATO: Cambridge, Hamilton, Huntly/Ngaruawahia, Mangakino, Matamata, Morrinsville, Ohinemuri (Paeroa & Waihi), Putaruru/Tirau, Taumarunui, Te Aroha, Te Kuiti, Thames Valley, Tokoroa, Te Awamutu, Whangamata
LAKES: Rotorua, Taupo
TARANAKI: Eltham, Hawera, Kaponga, New Plymouth, Opunake (Rahotu, Manaia, Auroa), Patea, Stratford, Waverley/Waitotara
BAY OF PLENTY: Katikati, Opotiki, Tauranga, Te Puke, Whakatane
GISBORNE: Gisborne, Wairoa
HAWKE'S BAY: Hastings, Napier, Waipukarau
MANAWATU/WANGANUI: Dannevirke, Eketahuna, Feilding, Foxton, Hunterville, Levin, Marton, Ohakune, Pahiatua/Woodville, Palmerston North, Shannon, Taihape, Te Horo/Otaki, Wanganui
WELLINGTON/WAIRARAPA: Paraparaumu, Lower Hutt, Porirua, Tawa/Linden, Upper Hutt, Wainuiomata (refer Lower Hutt), Wairarapa (Masterton & Greytown), Wellington
NELSON/MARLBOROUGH: Blenheim, Collingwood, Motueka, Murchison, Nelson, Picton, Takaka, Tapawera
WESTLAND: Greymouth, Ross/Hokitika, Westport
CANTERBURY Amberley/Leithfield, Banks Peninsula, Cheviot/Parnassus, Christchurch, Culverden, Dunsandel, Glenmark, Halswell, Hanmer Springs, Hawarden/Waikari, Kaikoura, Leeston, Lincoln Districts, Malvern, Rangiora, Rolleston, Scargill/Motunau, Southbridge, Waiau
MID/SOUTH CANTERBURY: Albury/Cave, Ashburton, Fairlie, Geraldine, Omarama, Pleasant Point, Temuka, Timaru, Twizel
OTAGO: Alexandra, Balclutha, Cromwell, Dunedin, Ida Valley, Lawrence/Waitahuna, Middlemarch, Milton, Mosgiel, Oamaru, Omakau, Ranfurly, Roxburgh, Tarras, Waikouaiti, Wanaka
SOUTHLAND: Balfour, Dipton, Edendale, Gore, Invercargill, Lumsden, Mataura, Mossburn, Otautau, Queenstown, Riversdale, Riverton, Tapanui, Te Anau, Tokanui, Tuatapere, Waikaia, Winton, Wyndham

14 October 2004

Tips for travelling with young children

Driver distraction is a major cause of car crashes. It is important to take time to plan journeys with young passengers in mind. Check the vehicle is in good running order and that the driver is not tired or overly stressed.

* Ensure all child car seats are correctly fitted.

* Calculate rest stops as part of your journey plan.

* Try to avoid travelling at peak traffic times and consequent traffic jams.

* Have story tapes or CDs on hand to play to entertain children in bumper to bumper traffic.

* Eye spy, story games, puzzles and soft toys will also help stop children from becoming bored or fractious on long journeys.

* Shade panels attached to car windows save young children from sun-strike.

* Have sufficient clothing and blankets for cooler temperatures.

* Young children need frequent rest stops. Provide them with meals, drinks and snacks.

* If a child becomes fractious in their car seat, stop the vehicle and settle the child. Never unbuckle the child restraint while the vehicle is moving.


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