Child motor vehicle passenger safety – using research to build a campaign
Keywords: Child Restraints
Submission Date: 2012
New Zealand’s rate of child motor vehicle occupant injury fatality and hospitalisation is high by international comparisons. A plethora of research and science has repeatedly stated the safety benefits of keeping children in booster seats until they reach 148cm in height. Currently, in New Zealand there is no legislation to require the use of child restraints beyond the fifth birthday. Consequently, in comparison to children from other jurisdictions, children in New Zealand are prematurely graduated to adult safety belts and exposed to unnecessary injury risk. The aim of the Safekids NZ 2009-2011 campaign was to educate parents, carers and the general community and to promote public awareness of the safety benefits of booster seats for children up to 148cm tall, as well as to advocate for regulation change to require the compulsory use of booster seats for children up to 148cm tall. In July 2009, Safekids launched a multi-pronged, two year campaign to promote regulation, education and public awareness of the safety benefits of booster seats for children up to 148cm tall. Key activities included: the creation of a solid base of evidence ; the implementation of a national advocacy project to influence government strategy ; the delivery of a series of capacity building workshops to practitioners; the development of targeted resources to support a nation-wide public awareness campaign. : Monitoring and evaluation of the Safekids Campaign shows wide spread reach of booster seat information to communities across New Zealand. Following the success of the Campaign, the New Zealand Government’s Road Safety Action Plan 2011-2012 acknowledged that New Zealand has fallen behind international best practice for child restraints, and includes consideration of regulatory interventions and education to improve restraint use as a priority area.