Car restraints, also known as car seats, are an essential tool for ensuring the safety of children when traveling in a vehicle. While many parents are aware of the importance of car seats for infants and toddlers, some may question the need for a car seat once a child reaches six years old. However, it is crucial to understand why it is essential to have your child in a car restraint past six years old.
First and foremost, car accidents are a leading cause of death and injury among children. According to the The New Zealand Transport Association, transport crashes are the leading cause of unintentional injury leading to death. While car restraints cannot prevent all injuries, they are designed to minimise the risk of serious injury or death in the event of a crash. We are lucky to have so many options now for car restraints to keep our children safe throughout their early years of growth.
The importance of using a car seat restraint beyond 6 years old in NZ has been proven to lessen the injuries if you're involved in a car crash. Children who have outgrown their forward-facing car seat should be transitioned to a booster seat. Booster seats help to position the seat belt correctly on a child's body and prevent the seat belt from causing injury in the event of a crash. The New Zealand Transport Association recommends that children remain in a booster seat until they are at least 4 feet 9 inches tall, which is usually around the age of 8-12 years old.
It is also essential to remember that children develop at different rates, and just because a child has reached a certain age, it does not mean that they are ready to sit in a car without a restraint. A child's height, weight, and overall physical development should be taken into account when deciding when they are ready to transition to a seat belt-only position.
Additionally, car restraints are not just for protecting children in the event of a crash. They can also help to prevent injuries caused by sudden stops or swerves, which can be common when driving. By keeping a child in a car restraint, parents can help to ensure their child's safety in all driving scenarios.
Finally, it is crucial to understand that following car restraint guidelines is not just a matter of safety; it is also a legal requirement. In New Zealand we have laws in place regarding the use of car restraints for children, and parents who fail to follow these laws can face fines and other legal consequences. Its not worth the risk. Choosing a car seat that allows you to safely put your newborn in it rear facing, then your toddler and pre schooler but also for your grown up child is not only peace of mind for you but it also saves you a lot of money.
Take the Nuna Exec for example, you don't need to purchase another car seat ever. So yes, at first the cost seems high but if you spread it out over 10 years its actually very cost affective. No need to purchase a capsule or booster seat down the line.
In conclusion, keeping your child in a car restraint past six years old is essential for their safety and well-being. Car restraints can help to minimise the risk of serious injury or death in the event of a crash and can also protect children from injuries caused by sudden stops or swerves. Parents should be aware of the guidelines for car restraint use and ensure that their child is in the appropriate restraint for their age, weight, and height. By doing so, parents can help to ensure their child's safety and prevent legal consequences.