Laws giving kids a safety boost

Valeska Moore, of Green Island, secures her daughter Cassidy (7) in a booster seat. Photo by Linda Robertson.
Valeska Moore, of Green Island, secures her daughter Cassidy (7) in a booster seat. Photo by Linda Robertson.
New child restraint laws have been well received by Taieri parents and Plunket.

Dunedin Plunket car seat co-ordinator Tonia Scoullar said that the law change was ''doing very, very well''.

''People are really catching on to it.''

The new laws have been in place since November 1, and require all children under the age of 7 to sit in a booster seat while travelling in a vehicle.

If the child is 7, a booster seat is recommended, but if one is not available, the child must be restrained by a seatbelt.

The new laws also recommend that children under the height of 148cm remain in a booster seat, regardless of their age.

Previously, children up to the age of 5 had been required to sit in a booster seat.

Mrs Scoullar said booster seats allowed the seatbelt to sit correctly around the neck and shoulders, without the child pulling at it or slipping their arm out.

Much like adult seatbelt laws, parents caught without having their child under the age of 7 secured in a booster seat could receive a fine of up to $150.

Mrs Scoullar said the law change did seem to take a while, however, was very happy with the decision.

''I would have liked to have seen it pushed further than 7, but it is definitely a good start.''

Green Island resident Valeska Moore said she ''definitely'' agreed with the law change and sits her daughter Cassidy (7) in a booster seat when travelling by car.

Although Cassidy is ''quite tall'', she said she would continue to keep her in the booster seat for safety, even though she was 7.

All booster seats sold in New Zealand are approved, and can be bought from the not-for-profit Plunket organisation or various baby stores.

Mrs Scoullar said booster seats sold from Plunket ranged between $90 and $150 and they had ''sold quite a few'' since the new law came into action.

In conjunction with ACC and Plunket, community services card-holders can buy booster seats for $50 if their child is legally required to use one.

- Bridget Rutherford

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