ALL SAFE: Dodge Caloon, 4, is fitted into his child booster seat by his mum Rochelle.
ALL SAFE: Dodge Caloon, 4, is fitted into his child booster seat by his mum Rochelle. Rob Williams

Many parents unaware of latest child restraint regulations

SILKSTONE mum Rochelle Caloon always believed she was abiding by the law when she buckled up her younger son Dodge into the car.

But an unexpected lesson in Queensland's latest child restraint laws soon changed all that.

The 38-year-old mother of two said she had sometimes allowed her four-year-old to be strapped up without the booster seat.

But as her older son Bradley pointed out, Queensland legislation requires children aged four to seven to be secured in an approved child restraint.

Mrs Caloon said her 16-year-old son had just completed his L-plate test and had been made aware of the road rule through studying for his licence. Until then, the hair salon owner said she had been oblivious of the regulation, which was introduced by the State Government in March, 2010.

"When Bradley was Dodge's age, I remember four-year-old children were allowed to travel in the front," she said. "But now they have to be restrained in the child safety seat at all times."

Mrs Caloon isn't the only parent unaware of current child restraint laws. A recent study by NRMA Insurance revealed one in five Queensland parents did not know of the latest restraint regulations for children under seven.

The study also highlighted that many parents were not using restraints correctly, or checking them often enough.

It also showed one in 10 parents never checked or adjusted the harness around their child before a car trip, and that many were unaware car restraints should be replaced every 10 years.

Kidsafe Queensland CEO Susan Teerds said parents who attended child restraint fittings were often surprised to learn they were using an incorrect car seat, or that it was not properly fitted.

"We have seen many toddlers illegally in booster seats, and kids in seats that were not correctly fitted," she said. "A child's life may depend on whether parents restrain their children correctly."

Mrs Caloon said she approved of the amendments to the child restraint legislation which helped secure her most precious cargo.

She also said when young children were restrained, it helped them realise there are rules in the car and that they needed to sit still and behave.

Statistics from the Department of Transport and Main Roads showed that in the period of 2000 to 2009, 34 unrestrained children aged under 16 died in car crashes in Queensland.

Child Restraint Guide

  • 0-6 months: Rearward facing baby capsule or infant restraint;
  • 6 months-1 year: Rearward or forward facing infant restraint;
  • 6 months-4 years: Forward facing child restraint with built-in harness;
  • 4 years-7 years: Booster seat with an adult seat belt or an accessory child safety harness.

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