Restraints, seatbelts, safety belts, child seats - whatever you call them their importance cannot be overstated, put 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. NZ Transport Agency says if everyone wore their seatbelts about 25 lives could be saved from road crashes each year and by buckling up your belt you 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.
“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,” says Senior Sergeant Hunter.
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”, adds 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.
Keep the safety of your furry friends in mind when you’re travelling too. If you have an accident or come to a sudden stop, your pets can become fast moving missiles, putting them and anyone else travelling in the vehicle at risk. Restraining your pet also lessens the chance of them becoming a distraction and stops them from jumping out unexpectedly when you open your door.
More information and resources about correct use of restraints
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.