The latest annual national survey of child restraint use in New Zealand by children under 5 years old was carried out in October 2010.

Children in more than 5,300 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.

Child restraint use by children under 5 years has increased. In 2010, 93 percent of children under 5 years were either in an infant seat, child seat, booster seat, or restrained by a child harness. This is an increase from 91 percent in 2009.

Fifty-five percent of the children in the survey were appropriately restrained in child seats, 18 percent in booster seats, 20 percent in infant seats and half a percent in child harnesses. A further 4 percent were restrained by adult safety belts only. The remaining 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 (%)
Category2000200120022003[1]200420052006[1]2007200820092010[1]
Appropriate restraint used 79 82 86 86 87 89 91 91 90 91 93
Adult safety belt used 11 9 9 8 8 7 6 7 5 5 4
Unrestrained 11 9 5 5 5 4 4 2 5 4 2

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

Figure 1: National restraint use patterns for children under 5 yearsGraph depicting national restraint use patterns for children under 5 years old

In this report, changes from previous years have been commented on in the text only if statistically significant at the 5 percent level.

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 five years in each local government region. In 2010 at least 190 children were surveyed in each region, except in Gisborne where 117 were observed and the West Coast where 84 were observed.

Table 2 shows that overall, the wearing of child restraints has increased since 2009. Some regions have shown increases or decreases in wearing rates. For example, child restraint wearing in Wellington has returned to 91 percent as in 2005, from 97 percent in 2009. Child restraint use observed in Gisborne has fallen over the last 4 years, from 100 percent wearing rate in 2007 to 85 percent in 2010. Wearing rates have increased by 7 percent in Auckland, Bay of Plenty and Taranaki. Wearing rates in all other regions are at similar levels to previous years.

Table 2: Child restraint wearing rates, by region (%)
Local government region20002001200220032004200520062007200820092010
Northland 70 69 85 84 95 98 100 95 88 89 88
Auckland 75 77 83 82 81 86 92 90 90 89 96[2]
Waikato 78 81 88 90 87 89 87 89 93 89 90
Bay of Plenty 79 78 87 78 81 91 89 86 87 84 91[2]
Gisborne 68 79 69 76 88 92 83 100 94 90 85
Hawke's Bay 67 90 94 83 92 98 89 92 92 94 93
Taranaki 77 78 95 91 94 87 95 96 96 88 95[2]
Manawatu-Wanganui 83 81 84 89 94 91 94 97 95 99 97
Wellington 81 83 82 90 89 91 92 90 81 97 91[2]
Nelson-Marlborough-Tasman 73 79 94 92 93 91 93 91 96 96 93
West Coast 82 84 92 92 92 92 93 96 99 99 96
Canterbury 88 94 91 93 93 83 85 90 91 94 93
Otago 87 97 97 90 95 91 91 98 96 93 96
Southland 87 76 81 88 83 94 92 90 95 92 93
All New Zealand 79 82 86 86 87 89 91 91 90 91 93[2]

2 Statistically significant change from previous year.

Metropolitan area wearing rates

Child restraint wearing rates for selected metropolitan areas are presented in Table 3. Results from the previous cities of North Shore, Waitakere, Auckland and Manukau are now incorporated into Auckland, following their amalgamation in 2010. Auckland has shown an increase in wearing rate from 89 percent in 2009, to 96 percent in 2010. Wellington and Christchurch metropolitan areas have decreased wearing rates from previous years, decreasing from 97 percent in 2009 to 93 percent for Wellington, and 98 percent in 2009 to 91 percent for Christchurch. Wearing rates have not changed significantly in the other metropolitan areas shown in Table 3.

Table 3: Child restraint wearing rates, by metropolitan area (%)[3]
Metropolitan areas20002001200220032004200520062007200820092010
Auckland 75 77 83 82 81 86 92 90 90 89 96[4]
Hamilton 81 84 90 95 80 94 87 88 96 88 90
Tauranga     88 80 81 87 97 78 86 85 85
Wellington 91 87 86 84 86 87 87 98 84 97 93[4]
Christchurch 88 94 90 93 91 77 85 89 98 98 91[4]
Dunedin 85 98 99 91 96 91 98 89 97 95 95

3 Prior to 2010, Auckland regional wearing rate shown. Limited historical Tauranga data is available.

4 Statistically significant change from previous year.

Local authority wearing rates

Child restraint wearing rates at territorial local authority (TLA) level are presented in Table 4. At TLA 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 75 percent the margin of error is approximately 9 percent. While small samples make it difficult to detect small changes in the wearing rate from year to year, these results are useful to local authorities as an indication of how much improvement is needed. Where fewer than 70 children were sampled in a TLA, neighbouring local bodies have been combined for estimation.

 

Table 4: Child restraint wearing rates by territorial local authority, 2010
Local authority/authoritiesChildren in sample% in child restraints
Northland
Far North/Kaipara 93 84
Whangarei 99 93
Auckland
Auckland 1888 96
Waikato
Waikato 92 79
Waipa 133 92
Matamata-Piako/Waipa 204 90
South Waikato 190 96
Hamilton 150 90
Taupo/South Waikato 248 98
Bay of Plenty
Tauranga 114 85
Western Bay of Plenty 140 94
Rotorua 174 95
Whakatane/Kawerau/Western Bay of Plenty 183 95
Gisborne
Gisborne 117 85
Hawke's Bay    
Wairoa/Hastings 171 92
Napier 102 96
Hastings 101 91
Hastings/Central Hawke's Bay 117 91
Taranaki    
New Plymouth 156 96
Stratford/South Taranaki 135 94
South Taranaki 75 93
Manawatu-Wanganui    
Ruapehu/Rangitikei 190 99
Whanganui 114 98
Manawatu/Tararua/Horowhenua 99 94
Manawatu/Palmerston North 152 98
Palmerston North 83 99
Wellington
Kapiti Coast/Porirua 106 90
Masterton/Carterton 33 Sample too small
Upper Hutt/Hutt City 133 93
Hutt City 87 94
Wellington City 343 93
Nelson/Marlborough/Tasman
Nelson/Tasman 165 98
Tasman 104 96
Marlborough/Kaikoura 72 83
West Coast
Westland/Buller/Grey 84 96
Canterbury
Christchurch 289 91
Waimakariri 52 Sample too small
Ashburton 82 98
Timaru 147 97
Otago
Waitaki/Central Otago 140 96
Clutha/Dunedin 124 95
Southland
Gore 103 91
Invercargill 145 93

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. Child restraint use in Counties/Manukau and Bay of Plenty have increased from 83 percent and 85 percent in 2009 to 94 percent and 92 percent in 2010 respectively. Wellington has returned to 2005–2007 levels at 91 percent after 97 percent in 2009. The other police districts are maintaining the levels observed previously, as shown in Table 5.


In 2010, at least 300 children were surveyed in each district, except in Northland (where 192 children were surveyed) and in Auckland (205 children).

Table 5: Percentage of children in child restraints, by police district (%)
Police district20002001200220032004200520062007200820092010
Northland 70 69 85 84 95 98 100 95 88 89 88
Waitemata 84 82 83 91 89 93 93 90 87 97 97
Auckland 81 82 88 86 88 86 84 89 95 99 98
Counties-Manukau 64 69 75 69 68 86 97 91 87 83 94[5]
Waikato 80 83 87 91 86 90 86 87 93 89 89
Bay of Plenty 77 76 88 78 83 90 90 87 88 85 92[5]
Eastern 68 86 88 81 91 96 87 94 92 94 91
Central 80 80 88 90 93 90 94 95 95 95 97
Wellington 81 84 80 90 89 91 92 91 81 97 91[5]
Tasman 75 80 94 92 93 91 93 92 97 96 94
Canterbury 88 94 90 93 93 83 85 90 91 94 93
Southern 87 89 93 89 91 92 92 95 96 92 94
All New Zealand 79 82 86 86 87 89 91 91 90 91 93[5]

5 Statistically significant change from previous year.

Police area wearing rates

Child restraint wearing rates at police area level are presented in Table 6. At police area 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 75 percent the margin of error[6] is approximately 9 percent. While small samples make it difficult to detect small changes in the wearing rate from year to year, these results are useful to local police as an indication of how much improvement is needed. Where fewer than 70 children were sampled in a police area, neighbouring local areas have been combined for estimation.

6 Margin of error based on a 95 percent confidence interval.

 

Table 6: Child restraint wearing rates by police area, 2010
Police areaChildren in sample% in child restraints
Northland
Far North 76 80
Whangarei 116 94
Waitemata
Rodney/North Shore 225 98
North Shore 184 99
Waitakere 141 96
Auckland
Auckland West/Auckland East 205 98
Auckland East 153 98
Counties/Manukau
Counties-Manukau West 83 90
Counties-Manukau East 98 96
Counties-Manukau Central/South 122 94
Waikato
Hamilton 150 90
Waikato East 71 87
Waikato West 225 87
Bay of Plenty
Taupo 248 98
Western Bay of Plenty 254 87
Eastern Bay of Plenty 43 Sample too small
Rotorua 174 95
Eastern
Gisborne 187 87
Napier 102 96
Hastings 117 91
Central
New Plymouth 156 96
Taranaki Rural 135 94
Whanganui 204 98
Ruapehu 100 100
Palmerston North Rural 148 95
Palmerston North City 83 99
Wellington
Kapiti-Mana 125 89
Wellington 296 93
Lower Hutt 87 94
Upper Hutt/Lower Hutt 133 93
Wairarapa 33 Sample too small
Tasman
Nelson Bays 165 98
Marlborough 72 83
West Coast 84 96
Canterbury
Northern Canterbury/Christchurch Central 279 92
Southern Canterbury/Mid-South Canterbury 291 94
Southern
Dunedin 124 95
Otago Rural 140 96
Southland 248 92