Plunket's decision to stop its car seat rentals permanently this year has been labelled "a disaster waiting to happen".

At a recent Bay of Plenty District Health Board meeting, concerns were raised about Plunket no longer offering car seat rentals to families who could not not afford to buy their own. A board member described it as a disaster waiting to happen and said every health board across the country should be concerned about the decision.

If the decision does spell disaster for struggling families, it will not be the fault of Plunket.

The organisation says a decline in the use has meant the service has been running at a loss for several years.


Given this case, it's unfair to expect Plunket - a charity - to continue to soak up the loss. It needs to allocate resources according to need and decide how best to use the money available to help families and keep children safe.

If use of the car rental service has declined to a point that it is a loss-making venture then it makes sense to focus on other areas.

There are other options available to struggling parents.

At least one private company offers the service, and relatives who have a car seat that is no longer used may also be able to help.

The car seat rental service may be of value but a charity should not have to run it at a loss to provide it. If the health sector is concerned about the move then it needs to look at providing additional funding to support it.

Besides, parents, ultimately, are responsible for ensuring their child is safe.