Police dismayed by unrestrained babies

A day after a baby died from her injuries after being thrown from her mother's lap in a car accident, a woman was seen breast-feeding her child in the front seat of a moving vehicle.

Alexandria "Lexie" Grace Navacilla died in Auckland's Starship children's hospital on Tuesday morning after suffering critical injuries in a car accident on State Highway 4 near Aria on Monday.

The 12-week-old was one of six people in a five-seater Honda hatchback car and was sitting unrestrained in her mother's lap in the backseat when the car they were in slid across the road into a bank. Police found her car seat, which could have saved her life, in the car boot.

Her parents, originally from the Philippines, were travelling from their home in Taumarunui to Auckland.

It is understood that Mr and Mrs Navacilla's flatmate, who was travelling in a separate car, was among the first on the scene at the time of the accident.

The woman, also a Filipino, took Alexandria to Te Kuiti Hospital before she was airlifted to Starship.

The Herald understands Alexandria's body was cremated yesterday. Neither Alexandria's father Titus nor her mother Gracie Gevera could be contacted for comment. but overseas family members overseas took to Facebook to express their sympathy.

Alexandria's aunty Mary Quicar Dir Verano said on Facebook "Baby Lexie is now in heaven, in the arms of the Lord. We all now have an angel".

It's unclear whether anyone will face charges as a result of Alexandria's death.

Yesterday police reported a woman breast-feeding a baby while in the front seat of a moving car in Hamilton. A police foot patrol tried to get to the vehicle before it left but the driver had gone.

The incident came after police stopped a woman driving in Hamilton on Tuesday who had two young children in the backseat who should have been in carseats but were instead strapped in with seatbelts.

Waikato Road Policing Manager Inspector Freda Grace said to hear of such incidents the day after Alexandria died was a bitter disappointment and she called on all motorists to reflect on their driving behaviour.

"The mother, who was breaching the conditions of her learner driver's licence when stopped, told the officer that she was taking the 4- and 5-year-olds down the road to see a doctor and that she did have some car seats but her sister was using them," she said.

"Instead she put the kids in seatbelts, which are totally inappropriate for young children such as these, and it's really disappointing that in the last 48 hours we've seen a baby die after being unrestrained in a car that crashed, this incident and reports of a woman today travelling as a passenger in a car breast-feeding an unrestrained baby in her lap."

Meanwhile, Mrs Grace said serious crash unit investigators were looking into the death of Beant Kaur, 22, on SH3 south of Ohaupo shortly before 6pm on Monday.

Ms Kaur's northbound yellow Mazda car crossed the centreline and collided with a car then three other vehicles, including a truck.

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