In August Charleville Police partook in Road Safety Week, which was supporting the fatal five: distractions, speed, fatigue and child restraints, sharing the road and drink and drug driving.
One issue that has come up recently in particular for Charleville Police, is that of child restraints. Laws have changed recently, which can make is hard for people to keep on top of but Senior Sergeant Adrian Reick, says it’s crucial that children are restrained properly in motor vehicles.
“The biggest thing to talk about with child restraints, from a traffic accident point of view, is not so much about what the law says, but it’s about the safety of your child,”
“So if your child doesn’t fit in a seatbelt properly it’s not right,” he says.
Senior Sergeant Rieck says the best place to go to for all the information regarding correct child restraints, is the Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads website, and following the links to child restraints, which can be found here.
Senior Sergeant Rieck has given a basic run down of how your child should be restrained.
“If a child is six months or under they should be in a rearward facing child restraint capsule up until 6 months of age.”
“From 6 months up until the 4 years they can be rear or forward facing but in a harness type seat which is also attached over the rear.”
“Between the years of four and seven a child, based on their size, can move into a booster seat which can be a lap sash, or a H harness. However new advice is telling us the H harness, when the children get older, may be less safe so a properly fitting lap sash seat belt is probably better.”
“And then 7 and above, if the child is of the right size they can move into a normal seat.”
When is it time to move to the next type of restraint? According to the Department of Transport and Main Roads.
If your child restraint complies with the latest version of the Australian Standard it will have markings on the seat that show the upper and lower seated shoulder height of the child. You can move your child to the next type of restraint when your child’s seated shoulder height is above the top mark on the restraint.
Senior Sergeant Rieck says even if your child may be of the right age to move onto a different child restraint, if the seatbelt does not fit correctly, you can face a fine.
“So even if your child gets a little bit older, so for example if you have a smaller child who may be seven, they may have to stay in a booster seat a little bit longer – but that is just safe. You can still be fined if your child is older, but the seatbelt does not fit – because it’s not a properly fitting child restraint,” he says.
Motorist can be faced with a $353 fin and the loss of 3 demerit points if their child is not restrained properly in a motor vehicle.