Many children have benefitted from safer car seat installs, seats and advice during a free event in Whangarei on 3
November. The event, in the Whangarei Bunnings Car Park saw expert child restraint technicians offer free installations,
anchor bolts and advice over 5 hours.
Child Restraint Technician Bruce Wilson, a Director of Cheeks in Seats, a national charity who organized the event said
“It was great to be able to support a community that had requested our presence. Offering free impartial and non
judgmental car seat checks to parents and caregivers. From all the car seats checked there was a 85% error rate. These
included common installation errors, such as tethers not in use, through to expired seats. A very small number of seats
checked had no errors whatsoever. We sadly witnessed an alarming number of unrestrained children.”
This event was supported and attended by two local mechanics, Kelly’s Automotive and Imperial Panelbeaters who were on
site installing anchor bolts where necessary for parents free of charge. The Whangarei Salvation Army attended with
their free sausage sizzle for whanau. Safekids NZ also attended part of the day and brought their booster block for big
kids to see if they need to remain in a booster seat. Representatives from a large car seat manufacturer Infasecure from
Australia attended the event as well after sponsoring the install bays.
Northland Waste supported the event by allowing expired and crashed car seats to be destroyed free of charge through an
amnesty that ran alongside the checking clinic. More than 25 seats were disposed of appropriately, taking them out of
Tanya Lonneker, a Child Restraint Technician from Southland and Director of the charity who had traveled to help run the
event, said “It can be really daunting for parents to try and install a car seat for the first time and it’s reassuring
when we are able to help make small but important corrections to ensure children travel as safely and securely as
possible. When we provide education they are informed. Once we know better, we do better – it’s that simple”
Many seats were given away during this event, these included to children who arrived unrestrained through to children
who arrived in inappropriate or expired seats. Ones that were still appropriate to be used were kept by the charity and
used to assist other children in need.
Child Restraint Technician and charity Director Rachael Hannah said “We had been requested so many times to come to
Northland and we wanted to respond to these requests. We are blown away by the community’s response to our clinic and
the contribution we were able to make to Whangarei and the neighbouring communities and whanau. We hope to be able to
secure funding to hold similar events elsewhere in New Zealand in 2019”.
If you want to donate to support the work Cheeks in Seats does, they have a Give a Little page: