Background In 1978 a nationwide roadside survey in New Zealand revealed that only 20% of children used any kind of restraint while travelling in a vehicle. Plunket identified this as a major well child issue and in 1981 a pilot car seat rental scheme was launched, targeted at getting all new babies into a safe car seat. This was a world-leading initiative. A total of 150 rental schemes rapidly appeared countrywide and these outlets quickly became the place to get a child restraint for your child. By 1983, 283 schemes were offering 5500 infant restraints and 6893 child restraints. The retail value was NZ$1.1 million.
Aims The rental scheme aims to ensure children are secure in an appropriate restraint, installed correctly for every ride; to provide child restraints to New Zealand families at an affordable cost and to advocate for child passenger safety.
Method A variety of child restraints are available for hire. Qualified child restraint technicians assist the hirer to choose an appropriate restraint for the child and ensure they can install it correctly. The scheme continuously adapts to market change and staff professional training requirements to provide an expert service.
Contribution to the Field Over the last 30 years the Plunket car seat rental scheme has helped turn child restraint usage from a rare event to the norm on New Zealand roads. The Plunket car seat rental scheme remains the lead provider of restraints for hire throughout New Zealand.