Seatbelt, booster seat safety warning

Parents need to ensure their child is fitted to the correct booster seat.

Parents need to ensure their child is fitted to the correct booster seat.

Trauma specialists at the Women’s and Children’s Hospital are urging parents to ensure their child is fitted to the correct booster seat, to avoid serious injury.

Jackie Winters, a Trauma Nurse Consultant, said she has seen an increasing number of children suffering from serious abdominal injuries after car accidents in the last year, with ill-fitting car restraints and booster seats a recurring theme.

“While emergency bowel surgery is the most common procedure we see after a car accident, we often treat liver and spleen damage that may not require surgery but needs to be monitored closely,” Ms Winters said.

“The kind of forces that cause these injuries in a car accident may also cause serious spinal damage as well.”

“All of these injuries mean a major life event; a long hospital stay, weeks away from school and months before life gets back to normal - if it ever does.” Car accidents are the second most common cause of injury related hospital admissions in children under 14.

“No one can predict when a major accident will happen so it’s better to play it safe every time,” Ms Winters said.

While current child restraint laws are based on age, Holly Fitzgerald, the Chief Executive Officer of Kidsafe SA, urges parents to wait until their child is the correct size before moving them into an adult seatbelt. Most children do not reach this height until they are 10 to 12 years of age.