A Gore police and Plunket operation has shown 78% of parents and caregivers do not know how to properly install and restrain children in car seats.
The operation involved 37 cars with children’s car seats being stopped in Gore last Friday.
Four car seats had expired while 29 were being used incorrectly.
Only eight car seats required no alterations.
Southland Plunket injury prevention programme co-ordinator Tanya Lonneker said most issues could be sorted on the side of the road.
“The main issues we were seeing were lots of loose harnesses and expired seats,” Mrs Lonneker said.
A car seat has a life expectancy of between five and 10 years depending on the model, she said.
Many car seats were not using the top tether strap.
The parents and caregivers were receptive to the operation and appreciated the education, Mrs Lonneker said.
“It was really positive from lots of the parents we were out talking to.
“These operations are always really beneficial for groups.”
Senior Sergeant Cynthia Fairley said it was the first operation of its kind in Gore this year.
“The prime objective was focusing on child restraints and prevention through education rather than just issuing tickets.
“It was important that we did this in a couple of locations around the town,” Snr Sgt Fairley said.
Police would be hosting another operation in the area before the end of the year, she said.
In New Zealand, children under 7 years old must be in car seats which are appropriate for their size and age.
Children can move to a booster seat before they turn 7 but they must continue using it to ensure safety.
Car seats are the best protection for children until they are big enough for a seat belt to fit correctly.
Ms Lonneker travels to Gore on the first Thursday of the month to provide a Seen and Safe programme.
She encouraged anybody who was unsure and needing information to visit her during her session at the Gore Plunket Rooms.
Further information on car seats and safety can be found on the NZTA website.
A list of available child restraint technicians is available on the website as well.