Police are warning parents to buckle in children after a
toddler was discovered asleep in the footwell of a car and
two siblings unrestrained on the back seat when the driver
was pulled over.
A Hamilton Police dog handler stopped the woman motorist on
Wairere Drive in the north of the city for "concerning"
driving at midnight on Wednesday.
The incident comes just weeks after a baby died from injuries
after being thrown from her mother's lap in a car accident
south of Te Kuiti, and a woman in Hamilton was seen
breastfeeding her child in the front seat of a moving
Waikato District Road Policing Manager Inspector Freda Grace
said the three unrestrained children in the latest incident
could have been killed and it was disappointing some adults
did not heed warnings.
The sleeping girl in the footwell of the front passenger seat
was 2 and the two children in the rear seat were 4 and 5.
"It's really unfortunate that she's got three children, part
of our most vulnerable in our community, and for want of a
restraint, hasn't done that."
She said it was worrying that safe decisions were not being
made for children, who couldn't make those decisions
"Three young children could have come to something worse and
that would be just a tragedy and they're tragedies that are
so easily prevented," Mrs Grace said. "This is not about the
enforcement. This is about the safety of these children in
The woman was breath tested and fined $150 and the children
were restrained before she was allowed to continue home. It's
not clear if there were car seats in the car.
Last month Alexandria "Lexie" Grace Navacilla died in
Starship Children's Hospital after suffering critical
injuries in a car accident on State Highway 4 near Aria in
the King Country on May 19. The 12-week-old was one of six
people in a five-seater Honda hatchback and was sitting
unrestrained in her mother's lap in the backseat when the car
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.
That same week police reported a woman breastfeeding a baby
while in the front seat of a moving car in Hamilton.
That incident came days after police stopped a woman driving
in the city with two young children in the back seat who
should have been in car seats but were instead strapped in
The mother, who was breaching the conditions of her learner
driver's licence when stopped, told the officer she was
taking the 4- and 5-year-olds to see a doctor and that she
did have car seats but her sister was using them.
- Natalie Akoorie of the New Zealand Herald