RAA calls for improved safety for our most precious cargo

17 March, 2022

RAA is urging the winner of this weekend’s state election to improve safety measure for our most precious cargo – our children.

Tragically, 38 passengers aged under thirteen lost their lives in this state between 2005 and 2018, government figures show.

Of these, 24 were not appropriately restrained, including 11 who were in an adult seat despite being less than 145 cm tall, which is the minimum height required to correctly fit an adult seatbelt in most cars.

RAA child safety expert Belinda Maloney said many parents and carers find installing and using a child restraint confusing and challenging, but stressed a good fit is vital for a child’s safety.

“It’s crucially important to improve motorists’ understanding about the selection of the right restraint for their child’s age and size, along with the correct installation and ongoing use’’ Ms Maloney said.

“We checked just over 2,600 child restraints in the last year and found around 88 per cent have some form of misuse – with many having multiple issues.

“That’s why RAA is urging the next State Government to establish – as already exists in NSW, Victorian and WA – an authorised statewide child restraint fitting network to address the current deficit that exists in accessing child restraint fittings services across this state.’’

Ms Maloney said there were also several legislative changes that would strengthen child safety when travelling in vehicles.

These include:

Requiring child restraints be used in taxis, just as already required in rideshare and private vehicles, given the injury risk is the same.

Ensuring children with disability can access suitable restraints, as currently the South Australian Road Traffic Act prohibits the sale of special purpose child restraints.

Increasing the minimum age for children to travel forward facing from six months to 12 months, given the consensus among medical experts and road safety experts is that it is best practice to keep children rearward facing until at least 12 months of age.

Providing greater clarity on the use of child restraints by children aged 7-16 years, as there is a lack of community knowledge that adult seatbelts are only designed to safely restrain a person at least 145cm tall (the average 10–12-year-old).