Restraints, seatbelts, safety belts, child seats - whatever you call them their importance cannot be overstated, quite simply they save lives.
Seatbelts support you if you’re in a crash or when a vehicle stops suddenly. During a crash the force on seatbelts can be as much as twenty times your weight - this is how hard you'd hit the inside of your vehicle without a restraint!
When people choose not to wear their seatbelt, they put themselves in greater danger of being fatally or seriously injured. Sadly, in the last five years over three hundred people have died on New Zealand roads because they weren’t wearing a seatbelt. In fact, simply bucking up that seatbelt will increase your chances of surviving a crash by forty percent.
The simple safety message is underlined from a police perspective by Senior Sergeant Wayne Hunter from the Tauranga Police.
Seatbelts save lives, if someone does make a mistake on the road, they are less likely to be killed or seriously injured if they are wearing a seatbelt correctly,” said Sergeant Hunter.
This isn’t just advice, it’s the law. Front and back seats in all modern cars must be fitted with seatbelts and if you sit in a seat with a belt it must be worn.
When it comes to children, requirements vary depending on age, with the onus falling directly on the driver of the vehicle.
Children must be seated in child restraints that are correctly secured into the car to keep them safe. It is the driver’s responsibility to make sure all children in the vehicle are correctly using an appropriate child restraint, said Sergeant Hunter.
In New Zealand the law says you must correctly secure your child in an approved child restraint until their seventh birthday. Approved child restraints include baby capsules, child car seats for older babies, toddlers and preschool children; and booster seats and/or child harnesses for school-aged and some preschool children.
You’ll know your child has outgrown their car seat when they’re over the manufacturer’s recommended weight or height restrictions for that model of child restraint and making the move to a booster seat depends on your child’s height and weight, not their age. Child restraint technicians and medical professionals recommend that you keep your baby in a rear-facing restraint until as old as practicable or at least until they are two.
For more information and resources about correct us of restraints please visit the NZTA website
This community safety message is brought to you by Travel Safe. Travel Safe is an integrated approach to sustainable road safety outcomes that covers Tauranga and the Western Bay of Plenty.