Focus on safe child restraints

By Lawrence Gullery

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RoadSafe Hawke's Bay and the police have started a month-long campaign targeting child restraints in cars as families prepare to head away for the summer holidays.

The campaign started this week with checkpoints set up in Central Hawke's Bay where motorists were stopped and child restraints inspected by police and RoadSafe Hawke's Bay staff.

Roadsafe co-ordinator Linda Anderson said two more checkpoints would be held in Wairoa next week and in Hastings the following week.

"If there's a problem we spot at the checkpoints, we're able to give people some advice on what to do with their child restraints. They can return to our checking clinics a day or two later and if they've managed to solve the problem, we waive the infringement notice," Mrs Anderson said.

There was a $150 fine for incorrectly fitting a child restraint in a vehicle.

"Sometimes people just aren't sure how to fit the restraint. The tether strap restraint is the most common one that's a problem because it involved fitting a strap that must be bolted into the vehicle," she said.

"For others it's just a minor adjustment that needs to be made."

This week's checkpoint in Central Hawke's Bay produced pleasing results for the campaign.

"A lot of people with children 5 years and over were using booster seats which is great because there's a new law being passed that requires any child up to the age of 7 to be in a booster seat," Mrs Anderson said.

The checking clinic in Central Hawke's Bay will be held today and information from the campaign will help shape future education programmes in this area.

"This kind of information is valuable and will help us direct our efforts in terms of driver education. We're also doing a survey to look at some of the common issues," Mrs Anderson said..

"Some of them include moving a baby from a capsule to a child restraint too soon and facing babies forward in the car when they need to be facing the rear."

It was hoped the campaign would be a timely bridge between pre-Christmas holiday planning and up-coming police efforts to target drink driving and other summer road safety programmes.

"We want to have a big focus on child restraints with police before we go into Christmas. It's a good opportunity for us to raise awareness across the region." Mrs Anderson said.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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