Only 10 per cent of child restraints in Tasmanian vehicles checked by RACT in the past five months have been fitted correctly.
RACT staff checked 187 installed child restraints and found 90 per cent needed some sort of adjustment, including untwisting of straps, general adjustment of tethers and straps and removing and refitting child restraints correctly.
Even more concerning, one restraint wasn’t even anchored in the vehicle, and a number were out of date (seats reach their use-by date after 10 years).
RACT Executive General Manager, Membership and Community, Stacey Pennicott said there was great concern that motorists were putting children’s lives at risk.
“If a vehicle with an incorrectly fitted child restraint is involved in a crash, the child in that restraint is at risk of serious injury, or even death,” she said.
Ms Pennicott said while in some instances the work required to make the restraints safe was minimal, the impact could be devastating.
“We understand that often parents, grandparents and carers need to swap and transfer seats between vehicles – but that doesn’t mean the restraint can’t be fitted safely.
“Our free child restraint checks are conducted to ensure motorists are aware of the potential dangers of driving with children in incorrectly fitted child restraints.
“Our Mobile Service Centre travels all over the state – including Smithton, George Town, Geeveston and locations in between – doing the checks. You can find the one closest to you via our Facebook page.
“And if you can’t make it to one of our free sessions, you can book someone to come to your school or child care centre and do the checks for free, or you can make an appointment for a check at our Burnie, Launceston or Hobart branches.
“The RACT hopes that by continuing to offer these free checks, parental and carer awareness about child restraints will increase.”
The RACT employs trained staff to provide advice and technical assistance about child restraints and their correct installation and fitting. It also offers, for a fee, advice and training for organisations and carers responsible for transporting children.
RACT conducts the free child restraint safety checks in conjunction with KidSafe Tasmania. For more details visit ract.com.au/child-safety.