Measuring a child to check compliance with a height-based
child restraint law would be ''ridiculous'', Dunedin police
road policing manager Senior Sergeant Phil McDouall said.
But a child safety advocacy groups say a height-based rule
would be better than the incoming age-based restriction.
From tomorrow, the mandatory use of child restraints in
vehicles will be extended by two years. All children will be
required to be correctly secured in an approved restraint
until their 7th birthday.
Snr Sgt McDouall said police would not remove children from
vehicles if a height-based rule was brought in as part of the
''We wouldn't be that ridiculous to take somebody out of a
car seat to measure them.''
Children would be asked their age to check compliance with
the new age-based rule.
''A 7-year-old will know they are 7,'' Snr Sgt McDouall said.
If a child was unaware of their age, their caregivers would
be asked to provide their age.
''And if [say] they don't know, they are probably lying to
Police would be randomly checking the child restraints in
Dunedin over two weekends next month.
Non-compliant caregivers would be warned, he said.
Safekids Aotearoa director Ann Weaver said Safekids Aotearoa
had campaigned for a height-based rule of 148cm since 2009.
The campaign was supported by both Plunket and the Automobile
''Unfortunately, the Government had decided to go with
age-based and aligned with Australia.''
Seatbelts fitted people who were 148cm and taller and
Safekids Aotearoa estimated that half of New Zealand children
still should use a booster seat at the age of 10. Children in
a vehicle crash could receive severe head, spine and
abdominal injuries when using seatbelts that were too big for
their size, she said.
''While we are pleased the Government has taken a step in the
right direction, we still want it to go further and look at
it from a height perspective, rather than an age
There were easy ways to police a height-based rule, she said.
''We know the height of a police car is 148cm - there are
ways of measuring children.''
Safekids Aotearoa is a service of Starship Children's Health,
established by Starship Children's Health Trauma Service to
help reduce the high rates of preventable injury to children.