Kids in car seats for longer


Changing the law to require all children up to 7-years-old to be in an appropiate child restraint is a senisble move, according to Tauranga MP Simon Bridges.


The associate Minister of Transport said it will help keep more children safe on the roads.


"International and local research shows that in the event of a crash young school age passengers are at considerable risk if they are only restrained by an adult seatbelt," he said.


"Injury risk can be significantly reduced by having child passengers use age-appropriate restraints, such as booster seats. Extending the mandatory restraint requirements is an important step up."


As a part of the 2011/2012 Action Plan for Safer Journeys the Ministry of Transport was tasked with investigating extending child restraint requirements.


This would require changes to the Land Transport (Road User) Rule 2004.


The current law specifies that young passengers up to the age of 5 years must be restrained in an appropriate child restraint, and those between 5 and 8 must use one if it is available.


Under the new rule, children aged up to 7 must be in an appropriate child restraint and those aged between 7 and 8 will be required to use a child restraint if one is available.


The new mandatory limit will align New Zealand's requirement with that which currently applies in Australia.


Public consultation will be undertaken as part of this process to ensure that practical issues are addressed and managed.


"We want to make the changes flexible enough that it doesn't create undue difficulties for taxi drivers or large families, for instance," Mr Bridges said.


An education campaign and an appropriate lead-in period before the change comes into effect will assist with the transition.


Go to www.transport.govt.nz/ourwork/land/childrestraints/ for more information.

 

- Bay of Plenty Times

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