Wardens help keep babies safe

Publish Date : 10 May 2024
Car Seats Marae
Auckland Transport's team supplies child safety seats and helps train Māori Wardens at Papakura Marae on how to install them to keep babies safe as part of a scheme that Papakura Local Board has backed for several years.

Twenty-eight babies are safer in the car today than they have been thanks to Auckland Transport, Papakura Local Board and Papakura Marae Māori Wardens.

The wardens partner with the board on a scheme to make child car seats available to ensure precious cargo is protected.

The scheme is delivered by a dedicated Auckland Transport team that fits the seats and ensures others already in people’s cars are correctly secured, sourcing them from the manufacturer to alleviate the cost burden on young families.

AT team leader Rachel Hannah says it’s rewarding work that couldn’t happen without Māori Wardens facilitating the scheme and the board’s support.

“We see the gratitude new mums show when they can do the right thing. It’s not like they don’t want to, it’s that the price can make it difficult, especially on a budget.

“Most of the people we’ve helped at Papakura Marae have bent over backwards to protect their babies, sourcing seats from family and friends. But because many are different types, they haven’t all been secured the way they should be,” she says.

“And seats have a shelf life to. They reach an age where it’s no longer safe to use them, so it’s nice to be able to provide modern seats we know will stand up and protect baby in the event of a serious crash.”

Papakura Local Board chair Brent Catchpole says the scheme has been running for years and it’s one the board values.

“We make a small contribution to the wardens and they work with AT to make it happen, registering people, ensuring they turn up on the day, and making sure everyone gets the right education about the devices fitted.

“We don’t know how valuable the seats have been because we don’t know if our people have been in accidents, let alone how serious they might have been.

“But I would ask anyone wondering if this is something we should be involved in one question. If the money we’ve spent only saved one baby or toddler, and that little one was yours, or belonged to someone you love, would it be money well spent?”

Using a correctly-fitted and sized seat reduces the risk of injury in a crash. Finding the right one can be daunting with so many available.

AT runs free in-home or community visits to help people make sure their car seats are correctly fitted, email carseat@AT.govt.nz to make a booking.

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