High costs means no job
For 11 years Gaynor Buchanan has been the Child Restraint Safety Technician in Matamata.
But on September 20, the Porse Educator’s license expires and she will no longer be able to fill this role.
People from Matamata will have to travel to a technician in Tauranga or Rotorua to have their seats fitted.
Courses to become a registered technician are organised by the New Zealand Transport Agency.
It is unsubsidised. One is coming up at the Taupo Parent Centre in October, which Buchanan wants to enroll in but at a staggering cost of $420, it is well out of her budget.
To keep the service in Matamata, she is hopeful that someone in the community may be able to help finance the course.
According to New Zealand Child Restraints, one in five of all people who use child safety restraints, use them incorrectly, meaning the role of a tech- nician is hugely valuable in New Zealand.
Children must be rear facing until they are age one, but it is safest to keep them rear facing until age two.
The middle of the rear seat is the safest place, but behind the passenger seat is also acceptable as the seat would take the impact in a crash.
All children under five must be in a harnessed restraint, not in a booster with the diagonal and lap belt.
All children must remain in a booster until they reach 1.48cm tall and not travel in the front seat under seven-years-old, unless no other seats are available.
Buchanan says she is passionate about her role and admits she can be very direct when she sees people putting their children at-risk of danger, by incorrectly using child safety restraints.
‘‘What really gets my back up, is when I see a four-month-old baby, forward facing.
‘‘The mother says it’s none of my business and her baby cries all the time.
‘‘I am very direct about that, I turn around and say aren’t you better to have a crying baby than an injured baby?
‘‘I have seen children standing on the front seat, not in car seat and I have been abused by the mother when I have said something.
She says on numerous occasions people have come to her to install car seats they have purchased on Trade Me unaware they have purchased an expired seat.
She has spoken to plenty of parents whose children are in seats that are inappropriate for their age group.
‘‘You can’t blame the people, they just don’t know.’’
But despite the abuse she receives, she loves the job and she knows it’s an important one. ‘‘It’s for my passion of children. ‘‘I have looked after children for 14 years now. I find it rewarding.’’
She never charges for her services, despite the fact multiple seats can take up to two hours to fit.
‘‘It’s a service, and like looking after kids, it’s one that I enjoy doing.’’