A car seat provided by a rental company saved the life of a three-year-old Australian tourist involved in a crash in Waikato, police say.
The accident, which happened last Thursday on State Highway 23 near Raglan about 4.40pm, left a 49-year-old Australian man fighting for his life.
Initial reports suggested the accident was caused by a maroon SUV that crossed the centreline, clipping an oncoming vehicle before crashing into a 4X4 ute.
The woman driving the rented maroon SUV and her 10-year-old daughter were taken to Waikato Hospital by ambulance where they were treated for minor injuries, Inspector Marcus Lynam said.
The woman's 49-year-old husband was flown to Waikato Hospital in a critical condition, along with his three-year-old son who also required treatment.
"The 49-year-old Sydney man, who was travelling as a front seat passenger in the SUV, is now in a stable condition in a ward in Waikato Hospital, but the truly remarkable thing is that, thanks to the boy being secured in an approved child car restraint, the three-year-old was able to be released from hospital after four days,'' said Mr Lynam.
When Serious Crash Investigators reviewed the damage to the vehicle, they wanted to highlight the importance of properly installed car restraints for children.
"If you look at the images, there can be no doubt in anyone's mind, that car seat saved the little boy's life,'' said Mr Lynam.
Waikato police also wanted to acknowledge the efforts of two men, one who had been driving one of the cars, who helped the injured despite risks from a live electric fence and leaking fuel.