BUCKLING UP FOR SAFETY: Nadine Toniello, of Lismore, buckles her children Jakira, six, and Brady, three, in their safety booste
BUCKLING UP FOR SAFETY: Nadine Toniello, of Lismore, buckles her children Jakira, six, and Brady, three, in their safety booste

Safety should come first

By SAMANTHA TURNBULL sturnbull@northernstar.com.au NADINE TONIELLO doesn't need a law to make her children use car restraints. The Lismore mother of two already sits her daughter Jakira, six, and son Brady, three, in booster seats with harnesses. However, at present, only babies under 12 months are required to use age-specific car restraints. It is a law the National Transport Commission (NTC) wants changed. The NTC wants to make children use car restraints until the age of seven, following the death of Wollongong three-year-old Isabelle Broadhead, who was crushed by her seatbelt in April last year. "I couldn't believe it when I heard the law was for children up to one," Ms Toniello said. "The last booster seat I priced was $70. "It's a lot cheaper than a funeral for your child if they're in a car accident." NRMA senior policy adviser and former Lismore resident Anne Morphett has backed the proposal. She said it was particularly important for Northern Rivers families. "The Northern Rivers has one of the highest populations of children under five in Australia," she said. "And people travel so much up there. There's no public transport available other than school buses." The NTC's proposed legislation would see infants up to six months carried in rear-facing infant capsules, children up to four using forward-facing child seats, and kids up to seven buckled into a booster seat. Ms Morphett said the new laws would mean an added cost to families, possibly not subsidised by the Government. But she agreed with Ms Toniello that a price could not be put on a child's life. "The cost of losing a child is far greater than the cost of a child restraint," she said. Ms Morphett also said she did not think penalties were necessary to enforce the rules. She said if parents were better educated they would change their behaviour. A final plan will be put to State transport ministers by the NTC later this year.



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