Big­ger car seat law boost wanted

Matamata Chronicle - - Front Page - By NI­COLA STEWART ni­cola.stewart@wrcn.co.nz

Changes to the child car re­straints law do not go far enough for some Mata­mata par­ents.

From Novem­ber 1, chil­dren must use an ap­proved car or booster seat un­til their sev­enth birth­day.

It is a two-year ex­ten­sion on the cur­rent law.

But Firth Pri­mary par­ent Jenny Mayo says the change should have been based on height rather than age.

‘‘Our kids are 8 and 10 and they still use their booster seats,’’ she said.

‘‘ Oth­er­wise the seat­belt across their necks.’’

She plans to keep her son and grand­son in booster seats un­til they reach the Plun­ke­trec­om­mended height of 148cm.

‘‘It’s safer for them to stay in them,’’ she said. ‘‘ It should be made com­pul­sory. Our kids can’t be re­placed so we need to give them all the pro­tec­tion we can while they are in our care.’’

It may be a while be­fore her 10- year- old chucks his booster seat – he still has about 10cm to grow.

In the past he had copped a bit of flack from his class­mates for us­ing it, Ms Mayo said.

‘‘It doesn’t worry him too much now though be­cause he knows it keeps him safe.’’

Other par­ents com­ment­ing on the Chron­i­cle face­book page agreed the age of 7 was too young.

So­nia Smith said: ‘‘I have three boys 8, 6, 4 [and] all three are still in booster seats. I like hav­ing the boys in booster seats as the seat belts fit prop­erly.

‘‘I am in no rush for the boys to get out of their booster seats as it is more safe for them to be in them. Should be com­pul­sory to be in them till 10 years of age.’’

Becks Allen said she kept her daugh­ter, who was tall for her age, in a booster seat un­til she was 10.

‘‘ I don’t know how par­ents/ care­givers can feel okay about al­low­ing young-uns to travel in ve­hi­cles with­out them.

‘‘Awe­some how they are in­creas­ing the age to 7, but real­is­ti­cally

cuts should be up to the age of 10.’’

Safekids New Zealand ac­knowl­edged that the law change was a pos­i­tive step for­ward but en­cour­aged par­ents to fol­low the 148cm rule.

New Zealand Trans­port road safety di­rec­tor Ernst Zoll­ner said the change would bring New Zealand into line with the re­quire­ments of Aus­tralia.

‘‘Chil­dren are es­pe­cially vul­ner­a­ble to in­jury in crashes, and the stan­dard seats and safety belts in­stalled in most ve­hi­cles are de­signed to pro­tect an av­er­a­ge­sized adult,’’ he said.

‘‘Be­cause chil­dren are smaller and have dif­fer­ent body shapes, they need more pro­tec­tion to keep them safe in a car. Th­ese changes will make travel safer for New Zealand chil­dren and they will help to re­duce tragic and pre­ventable deaths and se­ri­ous in­juries among our youngest road users.’’

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