Ballina Supercheap Auto Assistant Manager Jason Kowalski pictured with some of the child restraint seats that he has on sale.
Ballina Supercheap Auto Assistant Manager Jason Kowalski pictured with some of the child restraint seats that he has on sale. The Northern Star/Cathy Adams

Drive to protect under-sevens by using car seats

JASON Kowalski thinks it’s about time rules came into force requiring children under the age of seven to be restrained in special car seats.

“But to do it properly you need to install a special harness to make the child secure and comfortable,” said the 35-year-old father of two.

Mr Kowalski, Assistant Manager of Supercheap Auto at Ballina, said adult seat belts can harm children.

Children can also escape from them while a vehicle is in motion, making for a dangerous situation, he said.

New laws are not expected to be enforced in NSW for the next few years requiring children up to six months old to be restrained in a rear-facing infant capsule, children up to four years old to be restrained in a forward-facing child seat, and children aged four to seven to be restrained in a booster seat.

However, in Queensland the rules will come in on January 1.

So that will mean anyone travelling over the border from NSW will need to have their children restrained in the seats from the New Year.

NSW Minister for Roads, Michael Daley, said in March this year that new Federal child restraint laws, to be introduced nationally, would be implemented in NSW ‘over a number of years to give families plenty of time to adjust to the changes’.

Also in March this year, then State Roads Minister Eric Roozendaal told the NSW Parliament in question time that under existing laws any child over the age of one could be restrained by an adult seat belt.

“But adult seat belts are designed only for adults,” he said.

“The size and skeletal structure of young children means they do not get proper benefit from an adult seatbelt.

“We expect the transition period will be over the next two years.”

Mr Roozendaal said 500 children were killed or seriously injured every year across Australia in car accidents and more than 2300 received minor injuries.


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