The latest national survey of child restraint use in New Zealand by children under 5 years old was carried out in October 2014. Children in more than 5,600 cars were observed at 112 sites throughout New Zealand. As in previous years, sites were surveyed during school hours in the school term in order to target pre-schoolers. Results were weighted to reflect the population under five years in each local authority.

In 2014, 93 percent of children under 5 years used an appropriate restraint - either an infant seat, child seat, booster seat or a child harness. This is an increase from 92 percent in 2012.

Fifty-three percent of the children in the survey were restrained in child seats, 20 percent in infant seats, 19 percent in booster seats and 0.8 percent in child harnesses. A further 3 percent were restrained by adult safety belts only. The remaining 3.2 percent were not restrained, including less than 1 percent who were held on the knee of other passengers (see Table 1).

Table 1: Restraint type used by children under 5 years (%)

Category

2001

2002

20031

2004

2005

20061

2007

2008

2009

20101

2012

20141

Appropriate restraint used

82

86

86

87

89

91

91

90

91

93

92

93

Adult safety belt used

9

9

8

8

7

6

7

5

5

4

5

3

Unrestrained

9

5

5

5

4

4

2

5

4

2

3

3

 1 Rounded figures given; actual percentages add to 100%.

Surveys of under 5 year olds were annual to 2010. Since 2010, under 5 year olds and 5-9 year olds have been surveyed in alternate years.

Figure 1: National restraint use patterns for children under 5 years

Graph showing type of restraint used by children under 5