The horrific car accident this week near the Waikato town on Patetonga has prompted Plunket to restate the importance of child car seats.
“This incident is a stark reminder for parents and caregivers to buckle children into a car seat every time they are riding in the car, no matter how short the journey”, says Sue Campbell, Plunket’s National Child Safety Advisor.
“Babies need to be in a car seat from their very first ride”, she says.
The law in New Zealand requires all children under 5 years of age to be restrained in an approved child restraint appropriate for their age and weight for every ride.
“Not all car seats fit all vehicles so it is really important to try it in your vehicle before you buy or hire it, be sure to read the manual and follow the instructions for installing it.
“The safest place for all car seats is in the back seat, so that they are away from airbags that are in car dashboards.”
Sue says that for a car seat to perform correctly in an accident it needs to be installed correctly.
“We recommend that parents and caregivers seek expert assistance from a Child Restraint Technician for a free check to ensure that your child's car seat fits your vehicle and is installed correctly. They can also advise about the best car seat for your child’s age and weight, and one that is best suited to your car.
“Child restraint technicians are available through Plunket Car Seats, and at a number of other hire outlets or retailers. It is a totally free service.”
Sue says that Plunket recognises that the cost of child restraints is beyond the means of some families but says that assistance is available.
“Plunket Car Seats exists to help families get access to child car restraints. Our priority is keeping children safe so we’re flexible on payment methods but hireage is generally less than the cost of a takeaway coffee a week. Some families may also qualify for a special grant from Work and Income to buy or hire a child restraint.”
For information on a car seat contact your local Plunket or visit www.plunket.org.nz