The Council tasked with examining paediatric deaths in Tasmania is reminding parents to become more familiar with the correct use of child restraints in cars.
The Chair of Tasmania’s Council of Obstetric and Paediatric Mortality and Morbidity, Dr Michelle Williams, today joined the RACT at the start of the state’s school holidays to remind parents about the importance of keeping young children safe while on the road.
Dr Williams said the incorrect use of child restraints had been a factor in deaths of young children examined by the Council over a number of years.
“In 2011, one young child died as a result of injury sustained during a road accident. The toddler was a rear seat passenger wearing only a lap belt.
“One death of a young child in this way is one death too many and the Council wants to remind the community again about the dangers and risks of not restraining children correctly.
“Every road death is a tragedy. The death or serious injury of a child who may have been saved by appropriate child restraints or belts is a catastrophe.
“The Council’s reviews of child deaths in Tasmania reflect national data showing that incorrect use of restraints is common, and is associated with injury and death.
“The community must continue to be alerted to the risks associated with inappropriate restraints for children.
“Adult seatbelts are designed for people over 145 centimetres tall and do not fit properly over a small child’s lap and shoulders meaning the child’s abdomen, spine and neck are exposed to serious injury if involved in a crash.
“Children should travel in the back seat where possible, as children under the age of 12 who are front seat passengers are at increased risk of injury.
“Having a child safely and appropriately restrained reduces the child’s chances of being seriously injured or killed in a car crash.”
Dr Williams said that the Council was also asking for the age, height and weight restrictions for children sitting in the front of motor vehicles to be better understood.
“It is every parent’s responsibility to make it their duty to ensure their child is safely restrained.
“Further advice on appropriate child restraints and fitting services is available from organisations such as the RACT and Kidsafe.
“The Council has called for more public advocacy on these issues in its previous Reports, so I welcome the RACT’s increased focus on appropriate car restraints in Tasmania,” Dr Williams said.
The Council of Obstetric and Paediatric Mortality and Morbidity investigates the deaths of children in Tasmania aged from 29 days to 17 years.
The Council’s report into child deaths during 2011 will be tabled in State Parliament later this year.
Tasmanian Government Communication Unit
Phone: (03) 6233 6573