If you live in Rotorua and have an infant or toddler seat in your car, there's an 87 per cent chance it's not installed correctly.

This Sunday a free check and install clinic will be held at Countdown on Fenton St as staff from the Rotorua Car Seat Clinic go about trying to reduce that percentage significantly.

Alice Waitoa, who runs the Rotorua Car Seat Clinic, admits many of the install infringements are minor but said they could turn out to be extremely significant in a crash.

"You only get one chance in a severe crash so we would like to make sure each child has the best chance," Waitoa said.


The Car Seat Clinic keeps statistics from all clinics and home checks, resulting in hundreds of seats being looked at during the past two years.

"We record the make/type of seats, and what we needed to fix. For example, if we need to tighten the seatbelt or harness, if the tether needs anchoring, harness height is too high or low or if a baby is forward facing rather than rear-facing.

"If we don't have to make any adjustments or changes it's classed as a perfect install."

She said other car seat technicians from around New Zealand also ran various checks and installs.

"Our (Rotorua) statistics are very similar to those nationwide."

Ministry of Transport analytics and modelling manager Dan Jenkins said all drivers were responsible for ensuring that any child travelling in their vehicle used an appropriate child restraint.

"Children must be correctly seated in child restraints that are correctly secured into the car to keep them safe from crash forces," Jenkins said.

Under New Zealand law, all children under 7 must use an approved child restraint appropriate for their age and size. Children aged 7 must be secured in a restraint if one is available in the vehicle.

International best practice recommends the use of an appropriate child restraint (or booster seat) until your child reaches 148 cm tall or is 11 years old. Child restraint and medical professionals recommend that you keep children under the age of 2 in a rear-facing restraint until practicable.

Sunday's clinic starts at 10am and ends at 12pm.


"Every year we have children dying on our roads. For that reason we would love to see as many people as possible on Sunday," Waitoa said.