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Kids car seat safety

 
Are you sure you’re using the appropriate car seat for your kids? Do you know when to change from a rear-facing seat to a front-facing seat or when it’s ok to use a booster seat? Find out more about kids car seat safety laws in New Zealand.
Are you sure you’re using the appropriate car seat for your kids?

Do you know when to change from a rear-facing seat to a front-facing seat or when it’s ok to use a booster seat?

Find out more about kids car seat safety laws in New Zealand.


Kids car seat safety NZ


Every year on average, 20 children in New Zealand are killed whilst passengers in motor vehicles.

Over 260 children, aged 14 or younger, are injured severely enough to be hospitalised.
 
Under New Zealand law from November 2013, all children under 7 years old must use a child car restraint that is appropriate for their weight and size.
 

Rear-facing infant restraints

 
  • From their very first car trip, babies need to be in a car seat.
 
  • Car seats and capsules for new babies and toddlers need to be fitted so they are facing the rear of the car.
 
  • Follow the manufacturer's instructions carefully when installing the seat or ask a registered Child Restraint Technician for advice.
 
  • Rear-facing infant restraints should never be placed in the front seat if there is an active front airbag in place.
 
  • In most crash situations, a rear facing seat will ensure your baby or toddler will be pushed back into their car seat, protecting their head and spine. The impact is then evenly distributed across the car seat and your little one.
 
  • Check your baby's or toddler's restraint fits firmly agains the car seat and doesn't wobble about.
 
  • If the restraint has a chest clip, make sure the clip is at their armpit level.
 
  • The car seat or capsule harness must fit snugly against your baby or toddler and go over their shoulders.
 
  • Put blankets over your little once they are safe and secure in their harness, not before.
 
  • Babies and toddlers are better protected when they travel in a rear-facing restraint until they are at least 2 years old.
 
  • They have outgrown their rear-facing infant restraint when they are over the manufacturer's recommended weight and height limits and the top of their head reaches the top of their capsule or car seat.
 

Forward-facing child restraints

 
  • As your child grows out of a rear-facing seat, they will need to move to a forward-facing car seat.
 
  • Follow the manufacturer's instructions carefully when installing the seat or ask a registered Child Restraint Technician for advice.
 
  • The back seat of your car is the safest place for a forward-facing car seat.
 
  • Check the restraint fits firmly agains the seat.
 
  • Adjust the size of the shoulder harness as your little one grows.
 
  • Children have outgrown their restraint when they are over the manufacturer's recommended weight and height limits.
 

Booster seats

 
  • When your child has outgrown their forward-facing car seat, it’s time to move them to a booster seat.
 
  • As a general rule, if you child’s head is higher than the back of a car seat, then it’s time to move them to a booster seat.
 
  • Booster seats are designed for children who no longer fit in a car seat, but are too small to correctly fit an adult seat belt.
 
  • The NZ Transport Agency recommends that parents keep their children in a booster seat until they reach 148cm tall.
 
  • Without a booster seat, an adult seat belt sits too high on a child, ending up around their neck or face or across their stomach. This can result in injuries to their neck, throat and abdomen in the event of an accident.
 
  • Never use a booster seat with a lap safety belt only.
 
  • The back seat of your car is the safest place for your child's booster seat.
 
  • Follow the manufacturer's instructions carefully when installing the booster seat.
 
  •  A full booster seat with an adjustable head rest will provide better protection for your child in an accident than a booster cushion.
 

Child Restraint Technicians

 
  • Car seats and booster seats need to be installed correctly to perform correctly.
 
  • There are over 250 certified Child Restraint Technicians throughout the country that have been accredited by the NZ Transport Agency. They work with a variety of organisations including retailers, Parents Centres, Plunkets, car rental companies and hospitals.
 
  • The Child Restraint Technicians are qualified to provide informed advice on the type of child restraint that your child needs with regards to their age, weight and the type of car you have.
 
  • The Technicians also have the knowledge to correctly fit a child restraint and show others how to do so.
 

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