RAA has launched South Australia’s first virtual child restraint fitting safety sessions in an effort to reduce road trauma.
The launch comes as an RAA audit revealed an overwhelming majority of child restraints are not being used correctly – putting young lives at risk.
RAA’s Child Safety Centre team has begun live streaming safety advice for parents and carers after the Covid-19 crisis forced the suspension of face-to-face appointments at the Mile End site.
However, the virtual safety sessions involving live chats will continue to be available online to motorists living throughout the state, even when face-to-face sessions resume at RAA’s safety centre.
Alarmingly, RAA’s audit of 58 cars at metropolitan childcare centres in the last quarter found 95 per cent of restraints had one or multiple issues, with five per cent of vehicles checked having no restraint at all – despite being used to transport small children.
More than 48 per cent of restraints checked were not firm, with 24 per cent turned forward-facing prematurely, and 10 per cent out-of-date (older than 10 years).
These issues mirror those identified on a daily basis during thousands of inspections carried out each year at the Child Safety Centre.
The audit has prompted RAA child safety expert Belinda Maloney to urge drivers to check their restraints regularly and make the safety of youngsters a priority.
“While we’re maintaining social distancing measures and keeping our Safety Centre closed for the time
being, we’re still here to help over the phone, via email and videoconference,” Ms Maloney said.
“We’re using video conferencing to demonstrate how to correctly fit specific types of seats and talking
customers through the installation in an easy-to-understand, visual way.
“RAA understands that many parents find installing and using a child restraint confusing and challenging, but a good fit is vital for the safety of their children.’’
RAA is also providing online factsheets and links to various videos to assist with the installation process.
“While we can’t physically install the restraint for you, we can guide you through the process to give you
peace-of-mind that it’s fitted correctly to ensure it will do its job properly in a car crash,” Ms Maloney said.
“We are using various platforms to provide a virtual safety session, including Starleaf, Messenger, Whatsapp and FaceTime on iPhones, which can be used by motorists living anywhere is South Australia.’’
Drivers who fail to properly restrain a passenger under the age of 16 can be penalised, with 431 fines worth more than $191,000 handed out to South Australian motorists in 2019.
Appointments with RAA’s Child Safety Centre typically take between 30 and 60 minutes and are free for RAA Members and $15 for while non-members.
Further information and online resources from the RAA Safety Centre can be found here: click here