Most New Zealand pre-schoolers are protected when they travel, with a Ministry of Transport survey showing 93 percent of children under five were in an appropriate child restraint. This is an increase from 92 percent when the survey was last run in 2012.
The survey showed that just over half of children under five (53 percent) were in child seats. A further 20 percent were in baby capsules or infant seats, 19 percent in booster seats, and 0.8 percent in child harnesses.
Adult safety belts were worn by 3 percent of the under fives, with another 3.2 percent not restrained at all. This included just under 1 percent who were held on the knees of other passengers.
“Young children are some of our most vulnerable road users, and it’s important they are in the right sort of child restraint to get the best protection,” Leo Mortimer, Land Transport Safety Manager, Ministry of Transport says.
“Not only is this a legal requirement, but child restraints play a vital role in reducing the severity of injuries in the event of a crash. Adult safety belts are designed for adults, and do not fit children correctly. An adult safety belt alone, or holding a child on your knee, will not provide adequate protection in a crash.
“What type of restraint a child needs is going to depend on their age and size. Organisations such as Plunket are able to give parents and caregivers advice and support to make sure children are in an appropriate and correctly installed restraint,” Mr Mortimer says.
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