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Thread: Is child/booster seats mandatory in NZ for travellers ?

  1. #1
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    Default Is child/booster seats mandatory in NZ for travellers ?

    We are 6 adults and 3 kids aged between 1-3 years travelling to North / South Island during Sep 2015.
    We intend to hire an MPV (Toyota Previa) as that would be sufficient enough for our travel and the kids will be travelling in back seat with mom . Is child/baby seats mandatory for kids between 1-3 years old.

    Requirements for child restraints from nzta website

    Children aged under seven must be secured in an approved child restraint when travelling in cars or vans.

    Children aged seven must use a child restraint if available in the vehicle. If not available, they must use a safety belt. If a safety belt is not available they must travel in the back seat.


    We dont want to hire a campervan as we havent used one before or two cars as it would be expensive !!

  2. #2
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    Child restraints for children that age are an absolute must.

    Your responsibilities as the driver (under the law)

    As the driver, you must make sure that any child under 7 years of age is properly restrained by an approved child restraint that is appropriate for the age and size of the child. They must not travel in the car if you can't put them in an approved child restraint. The vehicle's safety belt on its own is not an approved child restraint.

    Approved child restraints include:

    infant restraints for young babies (often called baby capsules)
    restraints for older babies, toddlers and preschool children (often called car seats)
    booster seats for preschool and school-aged children
    child safety harnesses (used with or without a booster seat) for preschool and school-aged children.

    All approved child restraints will display standard markings to show they have been approved (please see below for details).
    http://www.nzta.govt.nz/resources/fa...estraints.html

    If you go on the roads in NZ with unrestrained children in the car, the police will stop you.
    Penalty for non-compliance with the law: $150 for each unrestrained child in a vehicle.
    See under The Law in New Zealand, here. http://www.plunket.org.nz/assets/Fac...fe-in-cars.pdf

  3. #3
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    As explained above, child restraints are mandatory by law and if you happen to be caught driving without proper child restraints, the police may fine you. As you are planning a cross-country drive, you are very likely to encounter a police patrol at least once throughout the journey.

    However given your numbers - 6 adults and 3 kids in total, I sincerely doubt you can fit everyone in the car even for an 8-seater previa. The reason being child seats - depending on the age of the child do take up between 1 to 1.5 times an adult size. I suggest you check with the rental agency on this.

    You may be asked to either upgrade to a van or take 2 vehicle rentals for such a large group travelling. I've used GO Rentals before and I do know they rent out vans for large groups.

  4. #4
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    Quite apart from the child seat question, you will not have enough seatbelts in the car for that number of people. Regardless of the legality, this is dangerous and I would never, ever consider going on a road trip with 8 seat belts for 9 people.

    Please consider a bigger car or two cars.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by dharder View Post
    Quite apart from the child seat question, you will not have enough seatbelts in the car for that number of people. Regardless of the legality, this is dangerous and I would never, ever consider going on a road trip with 8 seat belts for 9 people.

    Please consider a bigger car or two cars.
    I totally support the above poster. Why would you consider riding in a car without a child seat restraint? I would hire a campervan and you can hire seats like we did when we did a 3 week reccie trip in a camper van.

  6. #6
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    Thanks all for your prompt response. Would check GO rental for bigger car or worst case have to opt for two vehicles of similar size. Btw how difficult will it be to drive from queenstown to Milford sound in Sep ( snow / road conditions )
    Does the route involve climbing hills / mountain roads ??

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by nms.sun3 View Post
    Thanks all for your prompt response. Would check GO rental for bigger car or worst case have to opt for two vehicles of similar size. Btw how difficult will it be to drive from queenstown to Milford sound in Sep ( snow / road conditions )
    Does the route involve climbing hills / mountain roads ??
    Are you going to be staying at motels, campsites etc? Be much more fun and nicer to do a camper van even if 2 smaller ones where you can sleep, cook etc and save some money on accommodation and food? Just a thought.

  8. #8
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    We have decided to travel to three main cities

    Auckland
    Hamilton
    Queenstown ( Air NZ flight from Auckland <--> Queenstown)

    We dont want to hire a campervan for two reasons ..we havent used campervan before so handling it would be a problem and vehicle is too big for young drivers like me

    we are now looking to hire a Toyota HIACE but it is turning out quite expensive for our 2 weeks trip..

    any other suggestions chaps

  9. #9
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    On our first trip to NZ we hired a camper van, which was my first time of driving one. Though a very experienced driver, I'm NOT young(!), but I found absolutely no difficulty with it. The controls are no heavier or more difficult to manage than any car, and you just have to do what you normally would when adjusting to a new vehicle - have a good look all round outside when it's properly parked alongside a kerb, or backed into a space, then check from the driving position how all the exterior points look from that viewpoint so you'll be ready to line it up again, and also make certain that the driving mirrors are adjusted for your height. Then go carefully while you get used to it. The higher position gives you a good all-round view, which is an advantage.

  10. #10
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    I however do not recommend that you get a camper. If you do not have the confidence in driving a large vehicle, then don't push yourself. NZ roads can be hard and very winding for inexperienced drivers. If you plan on the Milford Road, there's a section of the journey that is quite winding.

    Your drive from Queenstown to the beginning of Milford road will be around 3 hours. And from there to the sound - a further 2-3 hours depending on how frequently and how long you stop to check the attractions. The cruise is another 2 hours or so. So a trip to Milford from Queenstown usually start off early and ends in the evening.

    The largest camper is a 6-berth (i.e 6 adults) so it is in no way capable of fitting your group together. You will need to get 2 campers, something I think a lot of people advising you have overlooked.

    Btw, such a camper is quite big and you do not just have the issue of driving, you also have the issue of parking. There are limited parking lots available for motorhome vehicles of such size in Auckland and bigger cities. It is not a problem in South Island towns but in Queenstown you won't be able to park in a convenient location within the centre. Or you can leave the vehicle at the holiday park.

    This is......if camping (in a vehicle) is your idea of a holiday. Although I enjoy the concept of camper holidays myself (I've done it twice) I realize it is not for everyone.

    If you find the cost of renting a passenger van too much (have you checked other websites?), then I would suggest getting 2 cars for renting. An older car with some mileage on it would generally be from 35 per day with standard insurance.

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