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FEARS FOR CHIL­DREN AS CAR SAFETY TAKES A BACK SEAT

Mt Druitt - St Mary's Standard (East) - - FRONT PAGE - Jenny Gal­braith

PAR­ENTS are putting their chil­dren’s lives at risk by not cor­rectly re­strain­ing them in cars, new fig­ures show.

More fines were handed out in Mt Druitt for child re­straint of­fences than nearly any other area in NSW, with more than 200 is­sued in the past year ac­cord­ing to data re­leased by the Of­fice of State Rev­enue.

At $311 for each of­fence, peo­ple fined in the area paid al­most $70,000 in the 12 months from July last year.

By far the largest num­ber of of­fences were for not cor­rectly re­strain­ing chil­dren aged from six months to un­der four years old, with 157 fines is­sued over the year.

The law states that these chil­dren must be se­cured in ei­ther a rear- or for­ward-fac­ing ap­proved child re­straint with an in-built har­ness.

How­ever, there were still 10 cases of un­re­strained ba­bies un­der six months old, 15 fines for un­re­strained chil­dren be­tween four and seven years, and 34 for chil­dren be­tween seven and 16 years old.

Mt Druitt traf­fic sergeant Julie Un­der­wood said po­lice regularly saw chil­dren placed in dan­ger by be­ing un­re­strained in ve­hi­cles.

“It’s quite com­mon in this area, and is es­pe­cially very no­tice­able when we are per­form­ing RBTs be­cause ob­vi­ously they are pulling in so we are able to see ev­ery­one sit­ting in the ve­hi­cle,” she said.

“Some­times they’re just not re­strained at all, or the chil­dren’s seats aren’t an­chored to any­thing. I saw a baby capsule seated in the front pas­sen­ger seat with­out any­thing re­strain­ing it.”

Sgt Un­der­wood said there was a huge amount of pub­lic­ity when the new child

seat laws came into ef­fect a few years ago, so par­ents had no ex­cuse for fail­ing to cor­rectly re­strain their chil­dren .

She warned driv­ers that not re­strain­ing chil­dren cor­rectly was ex­tremely dan­ger­ous, es­pe­cially if they were to be in­volved in an ac­ci­dent.

“They may not be at fault for an ac­ci­dent but if chil­dren aren’t be­ing re­strained they will go fly­ing through the front wind­screen,” Sgt Un­der­wood said.

“That’s of­ten how we shock the driv­ers when we give them that ex­am­ple.

“They may be a good driver, but oth­ers may not be.”

For in­for­ma­tion on the child re­straint laws visit child­carseats.com.au/le­gal-re­quire­ments

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