Concern over incorrectly-installed car seats

Police check car seats in North Dunedin this week. Photo: Gregor Richardson
Police check car seats in North Dunedin this week. Photo: Gregor Richardson
Dunedin parents are putting their children at risk by failing to install car seats correctly, police say.

The warning comes after a checkpoint targeting car seats in North Dunedin on Thursday afternoon failed to find a single one installed correctly.

Constable Emily Plew, of Dunedin, said the 100% error rate in the North Rd checkpoint was of grave concern for police and Plunket, whose staff were on the ground sorting out seats.

"It’s really scary when you see that ... it’s really concerning for police".

It was not the first time they  failed to find a single car seat installed correctly — an earlier Oamaru check also had a 100% error rate, Const Plew said.

The checkpoints were a joint effort between police and Plunket and are running once per month.

However, police were not issuing tickets and the focus was on fixing up dodgy seat installations, she said.

"We just want to make sure kids are properly attached to their car seats, and car seats are properly attached to the car."

A mother herself, Const Plew recommended following her lead and getting an authorised car seat technician to install the seat after purchase.

Plunket  injury prevention programmes co-ordinator for Dunedin and Balclutha Shelley Gorman said the common errors she encountered were. —

• Child had outgrown the car seat ("18kg, that’s kind of the magic number").

Straps twisted, too loose or at the wrong height.

• Straps not tethered properly.

• Straps on exposed skin rather than routed over clothing.


Car seat rules

Children  must be in an approved child restraint until their 7th birthday.

• From their 7th until their 8th birthdays they must be in an approved child restraint if one is available in the vehicle.

• Best practice is to use a child restraint or booster seat until your child is 148cm or 11 years old.

• Medical professionals advise keeping babies in a rear-facing restraint until at least 2 years old.

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