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Parents warned about unsafe child restraints available online

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The NZ Transport Agency is warning parents and caregivers to be vigilant when purchasing child restraints online, as some restraints currently available do not meet approved safety standards and may not keep children safe in event of a crash.

Senior Manager Regulatory Compliance, Service Providers, Neil Adams says the Transport Agency recently became aware that some online retailers are selling child restraints that have not been approved for use in New Zealand.

“This means they may not keep children safe in the event of a crash. Parents and caregivers should be extra vigilant and make sure they’re buying restraints that meet New Zealand standards.

“The standards ensure restraints are laboratory tested under crash conditions and provide the best protection when used according to manufacturer’s instructions.

“Safety is the Transport Agency’s number one priority, so we’re warning parents and caregivers to please ensure any child restraint they use, or purchase, meets the approved safety standards,” Mr Adams says.

“Additionally, any driver who has failed to ensure passengers under the age of 15 are using an approved child restraint or safety belt could be liable for a fine.”

Child restraints should be labelled with any one of these standards:

  • a tick mark (indicates the restraint meets the joint New Zealand/Australian Standard AS/NZ 1754)
  • an 'E' mark (indicates the restraint meets the European Standard ECE 44 or ECE 129) – the number on the circle will vary depending on the country of certification
  • labelling that complies with the United States Standard FMVSS 213. The restraint must also show the New Zealand Standard 'S' mark indicating it is certified for use here.

Mr Adams says if the advertised child restraint does not mention safety standards in the description, ask the retailer for proof the product meets the approved standard before buying. If the retailer is unable to provide evidence of this standard, the recommendation is not to purchase the restraint.

If a parent or caregiver has purchased a child restraint that is not labelled with any of the three standards, and if that particular product was advertised as suitable for use as a child restraint in a vehicle, they could be covered by the Consumer Guarantees Act.

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