New child restraint laws to improve safety

Issue 51 – July 2013

The New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) is welcoming today's announcement from Associate Transport Minister Michael Woodhouse confirming that new rules to improve the safety of child passengers will come into force later this year.

From 1 November 2013, the mandatory use of child restraints in vehicles will be extended by 2 years, with all children required to be correctly secured in an approved restraint until their 7th birthday.

NZTA Road Safety Director Ernst Zollner said the rule change would bring New Zealand into line with the requirements of Australia, and was an important step forward in improving the safety of children on New Zealand roads. 'Children are especially vulnerable to injury in crashes and the standard seats and safety belts installed in most vehicles are designed to protect an average sized adult. Because children are smaller and have different body shapes, they need more protection to keep them safe in a car. These changes will make travel safer for New Zealand children and they will help to reduce tragic and preventable deaths and serious injuries among our youngest road users.'

Zollner said the NZTA is also keen to remind parents and caregivers that New Zealand law already requires all children aged 7 to be secured in an approved child restraint if one is available in the vehicle.

What's changing?

The law says you must:

Until 31 October 2013

From 1 November 2013

Correctly secure your child in an approved child restraint

Until their 5th birthday

Until their 7th birthday

The law also says you must:

Until 31 October 2013

From 1 November 2013

Continue to correctly secure your child in an approved child restraint if one is available in the vehicle

From their 5th birthday until their 8th birthday

From their 7th birthday until their 8th birthday

It's a driver's responsibility to make sure any child travelling in their vehicle is correctly secured. The lead-in time for the new child restraint laws takes into account the need for parents and caregivers to plan and make the most effective choices for their family.

→ Child restraints must be correctly fitted. For expert advice you can access a map of certified Child Restraint Technicians via www.nzta.govt.nz/childrestraints

→ For more information on the amendment Rule changes go to www.nzta.govt.nz/resources/rules/road-user-2004-index.html

Summarised from a NZTA media release, 28 Jun 2013.

Published in transport.