Today (1 November) marks the first birthday of a new law requiring all children aged seven and under to be secured in a car seat or booster seat when travelling in a vehicle - and to mark the milestone, ACC and Plunket are encouraging families to invest in their children’s safety.
On 1 November 2013, the law extended the age that children must be in a car seat or booster seat from their fifth birthday to their seventh birthday. In response, Plunket and ACC joined forces to subsidize over 10,000 car seats for community services card holders, supporting families to keep their kids safe in cars. The scheme launched in June this year.
“We’re delighted that many families have already taken up the offer. Car booster seats usually cost around $100 and many people are telling us this offer makes it easier for them to make the investment. It’s great to be able to put our resources together, and keep children safer on the roads,” said Plunket National Child Safety Advisor Sue Campbell.
She said car crashes are one of the biggest dangers to New Zealand children: “We have one of the highest child road fatality rates in the OECD. Around five children are killed or injured every week on this country’s roads. The simple truth is that car seats save lives.”
The car seats can be purchased from Plunket’s Car Seat Service for anyone who has a community services card: “It doesn’t have to be the child’s parent – grandparents and caregivers are taking up on the offer too,” said Sue Campbell.
ACC’s Chief Customer Officer Sid Miller said ACC is proud to partner with Plunket on this initiative, as both organisations have a long history of helping New Zealanders.
“One of ACC’s core roles is to prevent injuries, and we’re happy to work with Plunket and use their presence in the community to help us do this.”
Sue Campbell said Plunket is committed to keeping Kiwi kids safe: “This initiative will help families comply with the law, and help them keep their children safer until they’re ready to move out of a booster seat.” She said it’s recommended any child less than 148 centimetres tall continues to use a booster seat to keep them safe, regardless of their age.
Each year, ACC receives around 30,000 claims for injuries resulting from motor vehicle crashes. Around 1000 claims involve children aged seven years and under.
“The road is where the greatest number of serious injuries happen in New Zealand,” said Mr Miller.
“If we can help prevent just one child from being killed or seriously injured on the road through this initiative, then that will be a great outcome.”
Community service cardholders wishing to buy a subsidised seat should contact their local Plunket or visit plunket.org.nz to find out more.
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Notes to editors
You can find more information on the law changes at: www.nzta.govt.nz/