This annual national survey of child restraint use in New Zealand by children under 5 years was carried out in September 2008.

Children in more than 4,800 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 in each local authority.

The results from 2008 showed that across all sites, 90% of children under the age of 5 years were either in an infant seat, child seat, booster seat, or restrained by a child harness.

Fifty two percent of the children in the survey were appropriately restrained in child seats, 23% in booster seats, 13% in infant seats and 1% in child harnesses. A further 5% were restrained by adult safety belts only. The remaining 5% were not restrained, including less than 1% who were held on the knee of other passengers (see Table 1).

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

 

Category 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003* 2004 2005 2006* 2007 2008
Appropriate restraint used

75

79

82

86

86

87

89

91

91

90

Adult safety belt used

11

11

9

9

8

8

7

6

7

5

Unrestrained

14

11

9

5

5

5

4

4

2

5

*Rounded figures given; actual percentages add to 100%

Regional Wearing Rates

National surveys are designed to provide a consistent measure of child restraint use over time, by surveying the same sites in each region each year. Table 2 shows the child restraint wearing rates by children under the age of five years in each Local Government region. In 2008 at least 200 children were surveyed in each region, except in Gisborne where 83 were observed, the West Coast where 67 were observed and Otago where 145 were observed.

Overall, the wearing of child restraints has changed little since 2007. Child restraint wearing in Northland, Gisborne, and Wellington decreased this year. Wearing rates have increased in Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Hawkes Bay, Nelson/Marlborough, the West Coast, Canterbury and Southland. Wearing rates in all other regions are being maintained.

Table 2: Child restraint wearing rates, by region (%)

Local Government Region

1999

2000

2001

2002

2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

2008

Northland

61

70

69

85

84

95

98

100

95

88

Auckland

70

75

77

83

82

81

86

92

90

90

Waikato

80

78

81

88

90

87

89

87

89

93

Bay of Plenty

75

79

78

87

78

81

91

89

86

87

Gisborne

47

68

79

69

76

88

92

83

100

94

Hawke's Bay

74

67

90

94

83

92

98

89

92

92

Taranaki

82

77

78

95

91

94

87

95

96

96

Manawatu-Wanganui

71

83

81

84

89

94

91

94

97

95

Wellington

81

81

83

82

90

89

91

92

90

81

Nelson-Marlborough

65

73

79

94

92

93

91

93

91

96

West Coast

80

82

84

92

92

92

92

93

96

99

Canterbury

87

88

94

91

93

93

83

85

90

91

Otago

89

87

97

97

90

95

91

91

98

96

Southland

84

87

76

81

88

83

94

92

90

95

All NZ

75

79

82

86

86

87

89

91

91

90

Metropolitan Area Wearing Rates

Child restraint wearing rates for selected metropolitan areas are presented in Table 3. The observed wearing rates have increased for Hamilton and Christchurch and decreased for Dunedin. All other metropolitan areas showed a steady wearing rate.

Table 3: Child restraint wearing rates, by metropolitan area (%)

 

Metropolitan areas

1999

2000

2001

2002

2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

2008

North Shore

84

91

90

79

88

80

94

93

92

98

Waitakere

76

80

78

86

91

95

91

90

89

82

Auckland City

71

81

82

88

85

88

86

86

89

95

Manukau

59

64

69

82

68

66

76

96

91

86

Hamilton

84

81

84

90

95

80

94

87

88

96

Wellington City

88

91

87

86

84

86

87

87

89

84

Christchurch

84

88

94

90

93

91

77

85

89

98

Dunedin

87

85

98

99

91

96

91

98

100

97

Local Authority Wearing Rates

At Local Authority level, sample sizes are relatively small and results should be treated with caution. For example, with a sample size of 100 and a wearing rate of 80%, the margin of error (based on a 95% confidence interval for the wearing rate) is approximately 8%.

Child restraint wearing rates at Local Authority level are presented in Table 4. Results are likely to fluctuate where sample sizes are small and caution should be taken, particularly when samples are smaller than 100. No wearing rate has been estimated where fewer than 60 children were sampled. Where appropriate, neighbouring local authority areas have been combined to enable estimation of the child restraint wearing rate.

Table 4: Child restraint wearing rates by Territorial Local Authority, 2008

Local authority/authorities Children in sample % in child restraints
Northland
Far North/Kaipara*

122

79

Whangarei

178

91

Auckland
North Shore

263

98

Rodney/North Shore

299

93

Waitakere

151

82

Auckland

412

95

Manukau

311

86

Franklin/Papakura/Manukau

401

87

Waikato
Waikato/Waipa

168

93

Waipa

132

95

Matamata-Piako/South Waikato

105

92

Hamilton

106

96

Taupo/South Waikato

118

92

Bay of Plenty
Tauranga

153

86

Western Bay of Plenty

109

99

Rotorua

87

86

Whakatane/Kawerau/Rotorua

148

82

Gisborne
Gisborne

83

94

Hawke's Bay
Wairoa/Napier

226

92

Napier

163

95

Hastings

93

90

Hastings/Central Hawke's Bay

110

92

Taranaki
New Plymouth

134

96

Stratford

84

89

South Taranaki

96

97

Manawatu-Wanganui
Ruapehu/Rangitikei/Wanganui

161

86

Manawatu/Tararua/Horowhenua/
Palmerston North

156

98

Manuwatu/Palmerston North

122

97

Wellington
Kapiti Coast/Porirua

156

72

Masterton/Carterton

24

Sample too small

Upper Hutt/Hutt City

124

89

Hutt City

79

91

Wellington City

166

84

Nelson-Marlborough-Tasman
Nelson/Tasman

222

97

Malborough/Kaikoura

108

94

West Coast
Westland/Buller/Grey

67

99

Canterbury
Christchurch

203

98

Waimakariri

43

Sample too small

Ashburton/Timaru

122

95

Otago
Waitaki/Clutha/Central Otago

124

94

Dunedin

78

97

Southland
Gore/Invercargill

143

95

Invercargill

88

90

 

*Kaitaia excluded from sample in 2007 due to sampling issues.

Police District Wearing Rates

National surveys are designed to provide a consistent measure of child restraint use over time, by surveying the same sites in each Police District each year. Waikato, Tasman, Canterbury and Southern all show a continuing trend upwards. Wellington appears to have decreased sharply. This will be monitored to determine whether this is part of a trend or just a one-off fluctuation.

In 2008, at least 350 children were surveyed in each district, except in Northland (where 300 children were surveyed) and in Southern (345 children).

Table 5: Percentage of children in child restraints, by Police District (%)

 

Police District

1999

2000

2001

2002

2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

2008

Northland

61

70

69

85

84

95

98

100

95

88

Waitemata

79

84

82

83

91

89

93

93

90

87

Auckland

71

81

82

88

86

88

86

84

89

95

Counties - Manukau

63

64

69

75

69

68

86

97

91

87

Waikato

80

80

83

87

91

86

90

86

87

93

Bay of Plenty

76

77

76

88

78

83

90

90

87

88

Eastern

63

68

86

88

81

91

96

87

94

92

Central

77

80

80

88

90

93

90

94

95

95

Wellington

81

81

84

80

90

89

91

92

91

81

Tasman

70

75

80

94

92

93

91

93

92

97

Canterbury

87

88

94

90

93

93

83

85

90

91

Southern

88

87

89

93

89

91

92

92

95

96

All NZ

75

79

82

86

86

87

89

91

91

90

Police Area Wearing Rates

Child restraint wearing rates at Police Area level are presented in Table 6. Results are likely to fluctuate where sample sizes are small and caution should be taken, particularly when samples are smaller than 100. No wearing rate has been estimated where fewer than 60 children were sampled. Where appropriate, neighbouring police areas have been combined to enable estimation of the child restraint wearing rate.

Table 6: Child restraint wearing rates by Police Area, 2008

 

Police Area Children in sample % in child restraints
Northland
Far North

93*

70

Whangarei

207

92

Waitemata
Rodney/North Shore

399

93

North Shore

263

98

Waitakere

151

82

Auckland
Auckland West

108

89

Auckland East

304

98

Counties/Manukau
Counties-Manukau West/
Central/East/South

401

87

Waikato
Hamilton

106

96

Waikato East/West

238

93

Waikato West

186

93

Bay of Plenty
Taupo

118

92

Western Bay of Plenty

262

89

Eastern Bay of Plenty

61

82

Rotorua

87

86

Eastern
Gisborne

146

88

Napier

163

95

Hastings

110

92

Central
New Plymouth

134

96

Taranaki Rural

180

95

Wanganui

60

93

Ruapehu/Wanganui

161

86

Palmerston North Rural

117

96

Palmerston North City/Rural

156

98

Wellington
Kapiti-Mana

165

66

Wellington

130

92

Lower Hutt

79

91

Upper Hutt/Lower Hutt

124

89

Wairarapa

24

Sample too small

Tasman
Nelson Bays

222

97

Marlborough

108

94

West Coast

67

99

Canterbury
Northern Canterbury

113

85

Christchurch Central

66

98

Southern Canterbury

122

95

Mid-South Canterbury

67

96

Southern
Dunedin

135

97

Otago Rural

67

94

Southland

143

95

*Kaitaia excluded from sample in 2007 due to sampling issues