A Ministry of Transport survey indicates that nationwide, 96 percent of 5-9 year olds are in some form of restraint when travelling in a motor vehicle. The restraints range from child and booster seats, child harnesses and adult safety belts.
The survey shows that there has been a 20 percent reduction in the number of 5 – 9 years old travelling unrestrained in vehicles since the survey was run in 2011.
“While this decrease is positive, there are still a number of children travelling unrestrained, which is a concern,” Ministry of Transport Land Transport Safety Manager Leo Mortimer says.
The observational survey took place in October 2013, shortly before legislation changed to increase the age for child restraint use. From 1 November 2013, all children up to the age of 7 travelling in vehicles have to be in an approved child restraint, appropriate for their size and weight. The existing requirement for children aged 7 years old to use a child restraint if one is available continues under the new rule.
“When the child restraint survey is repeated, we expect to see a rise in the level of use of child restraints, rather than adult safety belts. Vehicle seats are designed for adults not children. As a result, children do not properly fit adult safety belts which offer them significantly less protection than child restraints in a crash,” Mr Mortimer says.
Surveys carried out in 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2012 looked at child restraint use by children under five only. Child restraint use in this age group is due to be surveyed again in 2014.
Image courtesy of NZ Transport Agency.
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