The NZ Transport Agency is urging parents and caregivers to start planning ahead for changes to child restraint laws which come into force in less than three months.
From 1 November mandatory use of child restraints in vehicles will be extended by two years, with all children required to be correctly secured in an approved restraint until their seventh birthday.
“When used correctly child restraints are proven to save lives and prevent serious injuries in a crash, and we want to make sure that all parents have the information they need to make sure their children are safely secured in an approved child restraint whenever they travel,” said Transport Agency Road Safety Director Ernst Zollner.
An approved child restraint is one that meets approved standards so parents and caregivers can be sure its design and construction is laboratory tested under crash conditions.
Approved child restraints include:
The most suitable type of child restraint required to keep a child safe will vary depending on the child’s size. Also if families have multiple children and child restraints it’s important to find out the best combination for their children and their vehicle.
When a child is large enough to sit in a booster seat parents and caregivers need to ensure they’re seated at the correct height for the safety belt to protect them in a crash. If not positioned correctly the shoulder portion of a safety belt can cut across a child’s neck and face and in the event of a crash can cause severe upper neck and spinal trauma.
Mr Zöllner said for safety reasons child restraints used in New Zealand must be ‘approved’ and must display standards markings to show they are approved and safe to be used.
“It’s important that drivers make sure any children travelling in their vehicle are correctly secured in a well-fitted and approved child restraint no matter how short the journey.”
More information about approved standards for child restraints and list of certified Child Restraint Technicians can be found at www.nzta.govt.nz/childrestraints(external link)