Is your child safe in the car?
Is your child safe in the car?

According to expert claims most  parents are not properly restraining their kids in vehicles.

In fact, this is putting more than half of New Zealand children at an increased risk of injury in the event of a car accident, according to statistics, more children die from injuries related to car accidents than from any other injuries.

The wrong car seat incorrectly used

“A third of children were using the wrong sort of restraint for their size and a third of children were using the restraint incorrectly and another 20 per cent of children were doing both,” vehicle safety expert Dr Julie Brown of Neuroscience Research Australia told ABC radio.

“We also found that less than half were using the restraints as they were designed to be used, for example the harness was too loose or twisted or was not adjusted properly as their child grew.”

These types of incorrect use dramatically reduce the protection from injury offered by these restraints, she says.

Incorrect use is one of the most common for children aged 0-3 years (66%) while using the wrong restraint type for the child’s size was most common among children aged 4-8 years (73%).

“These studies are the first to provide population level estimates of the size of this problem in NSW. And because they are based on data of real children when they travel in cars, they give much more reliable results than we have ever had before. Previous studies have largely relied on second hand information from parents,” says Dr Brown.

“New legislation requiring children up to age seven to use size-appropriate restraints will address a large proportion of the problem, but this research highlights the need for increased awareness of the importance of using those restraints correctly,” she says.

“We know that incorrect use increases the risk of injury,” says Dr Brown. “Using size appropriate restraints is important but to make sure children get the best possible protection in a crash, we need to help parents use the restraints correctly, and encourage child restraint manufacturers to design restraints that are difficult to use in the wrong way.”

Is your seat properly installed?

If you think you might be one of the 80% of parents with incorrectly fitted or sized child restraints, it’s worth getting some advice from Plunket.

Related car seat articles 

Last revised: Wednesday, 21 July 2010

This article contains general information only and is not intended to replace advice from a qualified health professional.