Making cars safer for tamariki

By Te Kuru o te Marama Dewes

This week is Road Safety Week and the theme is 'leadership for road safety'. With a rising road toll in Aotearoa, Turanga Health is taking the lead by educating the community about child car seats- and having them fitted for free.

Rhonda Pohat of Tūranga Health says, "We had a whānau involved in an accident up the coast actually, we had installed the car seat and the police praised whoever it was that installed the car seat because it remained tight in the car so that kept baby safe."

All child restraint infringements are an instant $150 fine- a safety risk for the child and an unnecessary expense for families.

Ella Manuel of Ngāti Porou says, "[It's] for the safety of my mokopuna and financially for my pocket in case we get caught by the police so thank you Turanga Health, thank you very much."

Turanga Health is an iwi health provider and has offered a range of services to whānau since 1997.  Once a month they do check-points with police to check baby car seats.

"Some vehicles already have bolts but people don't know where to look to find them.  We had two vehicles that had car seats but no bolts, but we also noticed there were seven tamariki that should have been in car seats that weren't," says Pohatu. 

Over 20 cars have been fitted with bolts this morning, identifying and meeting a much-needed demand within the community.

"I got my car bolted two years ago for one moko, I got it bolted again today because I got two mokopuna and it's very beneficial,” says Ella Manuel.

The Turanga Health child restraint service will be provided again in November.