A Rotorua mother involved in a crash believes her two children escaped unscathed from the accident because they were both in rear-facing car seats.
Jayne Ferguson said she was stationary on Tauranga Direct Rd while waiting to turn right when the crash happened in late August.
"A chap behind me, who I believe was doing the required 80km/h, didn't see my car and clipped the side of it," Ferguson said.
"I don't really remember how bad the impact was but I do recall the horrible noise of the collision."
Ferguson acknowledged she was possibly in shock when she got out of the car. She ran around to the passenger side of the vehicle, which had taken the brunt of the impact and where her son was seated in the back seat.
"It wasn't until I got out of the car and saw the damage that I realised it had been quite decent."
She was unable to open the door closest to her son but managed to get both her children out from the driver's side.
"They were both upset, it was quite a shock for them, but they were quickly consoled. It was such a relief to realise neither of them had any injuries."
Both Ferguson's 1-year-old son and 3-year-old daughter were restrained in rear-facing car seats and she attributes their lack of injury to this.
"We have always had them rear-facing and will keep them in a rear-facing seat until they reach the recommended weight to progress into forward-facing seats."
Rotorua Car Seat Clinic child restraint technician Alice Waitoa said the clinic highly recommended rear-facing seats for children up to 22kg.
"Studies have shown rear-facing car seats are five times safer for children up to this weight," Waitoa said.
The study she is referring to was published by the American Academy of Pediatrics. In 2009 the British Medical Journal advised the use of rear-facing child car seats for children under 4.
"When a baby is strapped into a rear-facing seat its entire body is supported in an impact," Waitoa said.
"In a front-facing seat, the neck and head take the force of a crash. Even at 50km/h, this can be life-threatening."
The Rotorua Car Seat Clinic runs under the umbrella of the Rotorua Parents Centre and was set up after Plunket's decision not to rent or sell car seats.
"We run a weekly car restraint check from the Plunket carpark and, every six weeks on a weekend, have a check based at the Countdown Fenton St carpark," Waitoa said.
With additional staff, the clinic hoped to be working with the police to hold roadside checks.
"People can have a look at our Facebook page to find out when and where the clinics are being held."
A police spokesperson said when police stopped any vehicle, the officers checked for restraints, including child car restraints.
"From time to time we also work proactively with our partner agencies on education regarding proper fit and correct use of child car restraints. This includes running events with technicians and other organisations to do free checks for parents of their child restraints."
Police encourage all drivers to ensure children are securely fastened. To check this, visit the NZ Transport Agency website.