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New child restraint laws to improve safety

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The NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) is welcoming today’s announcement from Associate Transport Minister Michael Woodhouse confirming that new rules to improve the safety of child passengers will come into force later this year.

From 1 November the mandatory use of child restraints in vehicles will be extended by two years, with all children required to be correctly secured in an approved restraint until their seventh birthday.

NZTA Road Safety Director Ernst Zollner said the rule change would bring New Zealand into line with the requirements of Australia, and was an important step forward in improving the safety of children on New Zealand roads.

"Children are especially vulnerable to injury in crashes, and the standard seats and safety belts installed in most vehicles are designed to protect an average sized adult. 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."

Mr Zollner said the NZTA is also keen to remind parents and caregivers that New Zealand law already requires all children aged seven to be secured in an approved child restraint if one is available in the vehicle.

What’s changing?

The law says you must: Until 31 October 2013 From 1 November 2013
Correctly secure your child in an approved child restraint Until their 5th birthday Until their 7th birthday
The law also says you must: Until 31 October 2013 From 1 November 2013
Correctly secure your child in an approved child restraint if one is available in the vehicle (and if not, in any child restraint or safety belt that is available) From their 5th birthday until their 8th birthday From their 7th birthday until their 8th birthday

It’s a driver’s responsibility to make sure any child travelling in their vehicle is correctly secured. The lead-in time for the new child restraint laws takes into account the need for parents and caregivers to plan ahead and make the most effective choices for their family.

Child restraints must be correctly fitted. For expert advice you can access a map of certified Child Restraint Technicians via www.nzta.govt.nz/childrestraints(external link).

For more information on the amendment Rule changes go to www.nzta.govt.nz/resources/rules/road-user-2004-index.html.

Associate Transport Minister Michael Woodhouse’s statement(external link).

Further information

For Q & As about the changes to child restraint laws, please refer to this Q & A document(external link).

For further information, please direct your queries to info@nzta.govt.nz and our team will get back to you.

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