For many it’s been a long time coming – and for others it will take them completely by surprise to hear that from 1 November 2013 the mandatory use of child restraints in vehicles will be extended by two years, with all children required to be correctly secured in an approved restraint until their seventh birthday. In addition, those aged between 7 and 8 will be required to use a child restraint if one is available. Under current law children aged 5-7 years old are not legally required to use a car seat or booster seat, but must use one “where a seat is available” (NZTA, 2013).

There will still be many parents out there who don’t understand why there is a need to extend the minimum age of car seats – as they ‘never had a seat and they were just fine’ but the facts are simple – car seats save lives and protect against serious injury -vehicle seats are not designed with children in mind and seat belts are designed to protect an average sized adult. This law change for NZ simply starts bringing us in line with other countries that have superior laws around safety and child.

So, in anticipation of the November law change – what can you do to ensure you are ready? Well if your 5-7 year old is currently in a booster seat that is appropriately fitted then you can ‘keep calm & carry on’. If your 5-7 year old is currently NOT in a restraint, then you’ll need to ensure you find a restraint for your child – and don’t wait till November 1 – do it now, because your child is so much safer in a restraint than not. If your child is younger and you are purchasing a seat – you’ll now need to consider the life span of the seat being of compulsory use to at least age 8.

AND… to everyone out there – no matter how old your child is and what you are currently doing…make sure you use the right seat, for your child and your vehicle, and that most importantly, make sure it is installed correctly. For help and advise on this, check in with a certified installer. And finally – just because we are now fortunate enough to have the law stating compulsory use to age 8 – doesn’t mean you should remove your child on their 8th birthday – use the restraint up to it’s weight limit or the size limitations.

For more information on car seat laws, tips, and advise on how to navigate the world of restraints – go to www.safercarseats.org or check out our information stations at Babycity stores nationally.


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Alicia is mother to two amazing children and has been influential in the nursery industry for over 5 years. With a flair for demonstrating and educating people about the right products for their lifestyle, Alicia brings clarity and relevancy to any topic. All served with a distinctive sense of humour that puts even those unfamiliar with baby products at immediate ease. Alicia currently runs www.safercarseats.org

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