New rules for child car restraints from 1 NovTransport
Children up to seven years old will be required to use an approved child restraint when travelling in motor vehicles from 1 November this year, says Associate Transport Minister Michael Woodhouse.
Mr Woodhouse has signed a new Land Transport (Road User) Rule that will increase the age for mandatory child restraints from the current age of five years old, up until a child’s seventh birthday. Children aged between seven and eight will also need to use a restraint if one is available in the vehicle.
“These changes, agreed by Cabinet last year, will improve the safety of child passengers and are designed to reduce injuries and save young lives,” Mr Woodhouse says.
“Increasing the age from five to seven aligns New Zealand with the rules in Australia and Japan. Children can be particularly vulnerable in crashes due to seat belts being designed for larger bodies, and it’s important that they are restrained appropriately.”
It remains the driver’s responsibility to ensure that any child under the age of 15 years travelling in their vehicle is correctly restrained, either in an appropriate child restraint (up to seven years of age) or a seatbelt.
As the new requirement will come into force on 1 November, parents and caregivers have over four months to purchase appropriate child restraints, such as booster seats, for children who may have stopped using them or who have outgrown their current seat.
“I would like to thank Safekids for their advocacy on this issue, and all the organisations and individuals who made submissions on the Rule. What we have achieved is a pragmatic balance between road safety outcomes and the additional burden on parents and caregivers.”
The NZ Transport Agency will be working with its child safety partners to promote the changes to parents and caregivers. For more information about the rule change visit: www.nzta.govt.nz