New laws for child seats in cars come into effect from today,
but police will be taking an discretionary approach while
parents get to grips with the new rules.
From today the mandatory use of child restraints in vehicles
will be extended by two years, requiring all children to be
correctly secured in an approved restraint until their
If an approved restraint is available in the vehicle, it must
be used until children turn eight, an increase of one year.
Approved child restraints include baby capsules, car seats
and booster seats.
A police national headquarters spokesman said the new rules
which would help to keep more children safe on the road.
"Staff will be using their discretion while the new law is
introduced, with a strong focus on education.
"However, there will be no tolerance for people who put
children's lives at risk by wilfully ignoring the law or
failing to restrain a child where restraints are available."
New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) road safety director
Ernst Zollner said child restraints used in New Zealand must
display standards markings to show they are approved and safe
to be used.
Baby on the Move Auckland franchise owner Kylie McCracken
said they hadn't noticed a massive increase in sales while
parents prepared for the law change.
Most parents were happy with the new rules, however it would
be better if the law was based on height instead of age, she
Associate transport Minister Michael Woodhouse said the rule
change was agreed by Cabinet in 2012 and signed in June this
"Increasing the age brings New Zealand more in line with
international standards and aligns us with the rules in
Australia and Japan."
Those who failed to safely secure a child were liable for a
$150 fine for each child.
West Auckland mother Kirsty Mew said she bought capsule car
seats for her two children Hunter, 4, and Charlotte, 7, when
they were babies.
They then transitioned to car seats with help from a Plunket
initiative, before moving onto booster seats.
Ms Mew said the law change was "great".
"Kids, they're only little, I don't think you can put a price
on their life. If it makes it safer, then why not?"
The price shouldn't be a deterrent for parents when lay by,
rental and charity options were available, she said.
Ms Mew estimated she had spent around $330 on child seats
over the past seven years.
Plunket national child safety advisor Sue Campbell said some
parents were eligible for child seat grants through Work and
Income and Plunket ran a cheaper child seat rental programme
for those on low incomes in some areas.
She also advised parents to shop around and search for
The cost of compliance:
* Capsule car seats: $70 to $400.
* Convertible car seats: $175 to $700
* Booster seats: $22 to $600
(Source: The Baby Factory/The Warehouse)