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New rules for child restraints from tomorrow

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The NZ Transport Agency is reminding parents and caregivers that new rules for the use of child restraint in vehicles come into force tomorrow (1 November).

From tomorrow the mandatory use of child restraints in vehicles will be extended by two years - so all children will need to be correctly secured in an approved child restraint until at least their 7th birthday.

The current law already requires all children aged five to seven to be secured in an approved child restraint if one is available in the vehicle, and this rule will continue to apply for children aged seven.

This means that from November 1, all children aged 0-6 will need to be correctly secured in an approved child restraint whenever they travel, and children aged seven will need to be secured in an approved restraint if one is available in the vehicle they are travelling in.

Approved child restraints can include baby capsules, car seats and booster seats.

Transport Agency Road Safety Director Ernst Zöllner urges parents or caregivers who need advice on the right restraints for their children to visit an approved retailer or child restraint rental outlet.

"There is a lot of choice when it comes to child restraints, and there are many affordable options, including renting restraints and booster seats from Plunket or from retailers, hospitals, car rental companies or charities. There are nearly 500 certified child restraint technicians from a variety of organisations around New Zealand who can provide expert advice and ensure that restraints are properly installed in your car."

A list of certified child restraint technicians (regularly updated) can be found on the Transport Agency website at:

www.nzta.govt.nz/traffic/students-parents/child-restraints-technician-list.html(external link)

Mr Zöllner said the new rules will help to keep more children safe on New Zealand roads.

“The new rules for child restraint use are being introduced for one purpose - to keep our smallest passengers safe on New Zealand roads. The death or serious injury of any child is a tragedy, and even more so when it can be prevented with the use of simple and widely available equipment like child restraints,” Mr Zöllner said.

Seats and safety belts installed in vehicles are designed and manufactured to most effectively protect an average sized adult in the event of a crash. Children, because they are smaller and have a different body shape to adults, need additional seating equipment to keep them as safe as adults in a car.

Mr Zöllner said for safety reasons child restraints used in New Zealand must be ‘approved’ and must display standards markings to show they are approved and safe to be used.

More information about the new rules and approved standards for child restraints can be found at www.nzta.govt.nz/childrestraints(external link)

Child restraint rules – what’s changing

Legal requirement Now From 1 November 2013
Driver must correctly secure child in an approved child restraint until… …their 5th birthday …their 7th birthday
Legal requirement Now From 1 November 2013
Driver must correctly secure child in an approved child restraint if one is available in the vehicle*… …from their 5th birthday until their 8th birthday …from their 7th birthday until their 8th birthday

*If no approved child restraint is available child must be restrained in any child restraint or safety belt that is available.

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