Call to keep our kids safe

Written By miftah nugraha on Selasa, 09 Juli 2013 | 19.55

A LAX attitude to the use of seatbelts and child restraints has been blamed for the high rate of child deaths in road accidents in Tasmania.

The RACT says Tasmania has the highest rate per capita of child death from transport-related reasons in the nation.

On average, 37 children under seven years old are injured or killed while passengers in vehicles on our roads each year.

The peak motoring group, in collaboration with the Council for Obstetric and Paediatric Mortality and Morbidity, is working on an education campaign to try to reverse the startling statistics.

The council is involved in investigating the deaths of children in Tasmania aged between 29 days and 17 years.

RACT spokesman Vince Taskunas said a significant percentage of car passengers involved in serious casualty crashes were not wearing seatbelts or an age-appropriate restraint.

Mr Taskunas said RACT community vehicle safety checks often found poorly fitted or age-inappropriate child restraints in cars.

Council chair Michelle Williams said the incorrect use of child restraints had been a factor in deaths of young children examined 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," Dr Williams said.

"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."

Dr Williams said the incorrect use of restraints was common and the community needed to be constantly reminded about the risks.

Legally, all children under seven travelling in a car must wear an approved child restraint which is properly fastened and adjusted.

Tasmania Police recorded 4379 seatbelt and child restraint offences in 2011-12.

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