Right child seat is vi­tal

Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - Statewide -

IT still shocks Jill Ed­wards, the owner of a south met­ro­pol­i­tan baby shop, how many chil­dren travel in cars in an un­suit­able child seat or in no seat at all.

A new penalty of $550 and four de­merit points comes into ef­fect from Septem­ber 26 for driv­ers with un­re­strained chil­dren in their cars.

Mrs Ed­wards said chil­dren needed to be in the ap­pro­pri­ate car seat for their age and urged driv­ers to read both their car seat and car’s re­straint in­struc­tions.

“Take the time to read th­ese in­struc­tions care­fully, oth­er­wise in an ac­ci­dent your child could go through the front win­dow of a car,” she said.

“Of­ten car seats are fit­ted in­cor­rectly or an­chored to the in­cor­rect point.

“We’ve even seen peo­ple with chil­dren on pillows in cars or even a case of a seat­belt tied to a baby rocker.”

Since 2009, 13 chil­dren in WA have died in car ac­ci­dents be­cause they were not prop­erly re­strained, with more than 2200 driv­ers fined for hav­ing chil­dren in their ve­hi­cles with out a seat­belt.

A fur­ther 97 were fined for not cor­rectly fit­ting a child re­straint.

Mrs Ed­wards said zero to four year olds re­quired a seat in­ter­nally har­nessed to the ve­hi­cle’s an­chor point while for four to seven years olds, the seat only needs to be har­nessed us­ing a shoul­der seat belt.

But she said de­pend­ing on a child’s weight they may need a car seat past seven.

She said de­spite the law only re­quir­ing ba­bies re­main in a rear-fac­ing car seat un­til six months old, it was vi­tal to keep them rear fac­ing un­til 12 months old.

“We en­cour­age ev­ery­one to have their child in a rear fac­ing baby seat un­til a year old be­cause if you have to brake sud­denly, there neck mus­cles are not strong enough to support their heads and can cause se­ri­ous dam­age,” she said.

Visit www.kid­safe.com.au for more in­for­ma­tion.

Jill Ed­wards with Kylie Saw and Kirsty Brown, all li­cenced car re­straint fit­ters.

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