WARWICK Police were shocked when a random breath test uncovered a unique – and completely dangerous and illegal – form of child restraint ... a pillow.
Traffic Branch officer-in-charge Sergeant Ross Waugh wants to highlight the new rules for restraints after he stumbled across the “blatant disregard” for child safety.
“We didn’t even know there were kids in the car when we pulled it over but there was a six-month-old baby resting on a pillow, totally unrestrained,” Sgt Waugh said.
“If the vehicle had braked suddenly or been involved in a minor incident that child would have had no hope. The child would have been a missile in the car.
“Another three-year-old boy was sitting next to the baby, also totally unrestrained.”
Sgt Waugh said the children were travelling with three adults and the driver of the vehicle was fined $300 and lost three demerit points for the unbelted babes.
The car was also grounded with the troupe having to walk the remainder of their voyage.
Sgt Waugh has observed instances where people assumed a seatbelt was the only safety precaution necessary.
“People sometimes put a child on their lap and put the belt across, this is a major concern because if the car is involved in a major collision the body weight of the adult with the seatbelt would cut that child in half,” he said.
The call for child safety in vehicles comes as a result of legislation changes which came into effect on March 11.
Sgt Waugh warned motorists that children under the age of four years old cannot be seated in the front of a vehicle.
“A child between four and seven years can sit in the front seat of a vehicle which has two or more rows of seats if all other seats behind are occupied by passengers who are under seven.”
Children seven years and younger can only move to an adult seatbelt if their eye level is above the back of an approved booster seat.
While the sibling wrestle for the front seat might have once been common, a driver will cop a $300 fine and lose three demerit points if a child is unsuitably restrained.
“We’ll be doing random spot checks to make sure kids are seated correctly in the car,” Sgt Waugh warned.
Warwick Ambulance Station offers a Baby Capsule Hire Service. To book an appointment phone 1300 369 003.
Strap them in
0-6 months (less than 8kg): Rear-facing baby capsule or infant restraint
6 months-1 year (8-12kg): Rear or forward-facing infant restraint
6 months-4 years (8-18kg): Forward-facing child restraint with built-in harness
4-7 years (14-26kg): Booster seat with H-harness or secured adult belt
Only use restraints which have Australian Safety Standards approval
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