Right child seat is vital

Jill Edwards with Kylie Saw and Kirsty Brown, all licenced car restraint fitters.
Jill Edwards with Kylie Saw and Kirsty Brown, all licenced car restraint fitters.

A new penalty of $550 and four demerit points comes into effect from September 26 for drivers with unrestrained children in their cars.

Mrs Edwards said children needed to be in the appropriate car seat for their age and urged drivers to read both their car seat and car’s restraint instructions.

‘Take the time to read these instructions carefully, otherwise in an accident your child could go through the front window of a car,’ she said.

‘Often car seats are fitted incorrectly or anchored to the incorrect point.

‘We’ve even seen people with children on pillows in cars or even a case of a seatbelt tied to a baby rocker.’

Since 2009, 13 children in WA have died in car accidents because they were not properly restrained, with more than 2200 drivers fined for having children in their vehicles with out a seatbelt.

A further 97 were fined for not correctly fitting a child restraint.

Mrs Edwards said zero to four year olds required a seat internally harnessed to the vehicle’s anchor point while for four to seven years olds, the seat only needs to be harnessed using a shoulder seat belt.

But she said depending on a child’s weight they may need a car seat past seven.

She said despite the law only requiring babies remain in a rear-facing car seat until six months old, it was vital to keep them rear facing until 12 months old.

‘We encourage everyone to have their child in a rear facing baby seat until a year old because if you have to brake suddenly, there neck muscles are not strong enough to support their heads and can cause serious damage,’ she said.

Visit www.kidsafe.com.au for more information.