Statewide car seat safety program launched

By Liz Mellino

Greater Shepparton residents will soon have access to free car seat fittings and safety checks.

Health Minister Jenny Mikakos officially launched the new $4 million Safe Seats, Safe Kids program yesterday which aims to provide Victorian families with free expert fittings and safety checks to help keep young passengers safe.

Kidsafe Victoria and Neighbourhood Houses Victoria will provide the free checks in every local government area across the state, at locations including neighbourhood houses and community centres.

Victoria is the first state to roll out the statewide fitting and safety check program after it was revealed that about 70 per cent of child car restraints are not fitted or used correctly — making injury up to seven times more likely.

“The data tells us that kids are far more likely to be injured if they’re in a poorly-installed restraint. That’s why it’s crucial they are in seats that are checked by the experts,” Ms Mikakos said.

Professional fitters will inspect child cars seats at the events to make sure they are installed and being used correctly.

Parents and carers will also be provided with information on how to check if their children are travelling safely.

Recent Kidsafe Victoria data revealed the risk of life-threatening injuries in a car accident can be four to six times greater if a child is seated in a poorly installed restraint, compared to a properly fitted one.

On average, six children under the age of 13 are killed, and about 160 are seriously injured in vehicles on Victorian roads each year.

“I urge all parents and carers to take advantage of this landmark program — it will help keep kids safe and give them the important peace of mind that their children are properly secured,” Ms Mikakos said.

Parents and carers can register their interest to attend a child car seat safety check session online.