Watchdog seeks review on child seats in cars

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 16 March, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 16 March, 2011, 12:00am

The consumer watchdog says a rising number of car accident injuries and deaths involving children demands a rethink of the law.

Under the current Road Traffic (Safety Equipment) Regulations, children aged two or below in the front passenger seat must be secured in approved child car seats.

The Consumer Council said the government should increase the age limit because the number of injuries and casualties involving children had increased over the past few years.

Last year, 173 passengers aged 14 or below were injured or killed while travelling in cars. The number went up from 170 in 2009 and 168 in 2008.

The increase was steeper for children aged four or below, those went up 16 per cent from 63 in 2009 to 73 last year.

The city's requirements in the area are looser compared with those overseas. In Japan, children younger than six must be in a safety seat, while in Britain, the rule applies to those under 12, unless they are 135cm tall.

Adults should not hold children in their arms or share the same seat belt with children when in a car, the council advised.

Last year a nine-month-old baby was killed while his mother - who was only slightly injured - held him in her arms in the back seat.

Youngsters should be seated in the back as some front seats are fitted with airbags, which can harm children even if they are in a child car seat.

Steep rise

The number of children aged four or below injured or killed in car accidents rose 16 per cent last year to: 73