Make sure your precious cargo is buckled into a seat which isn’t expired.

Two Wairarapa councils, the region’s road safety council and SeatSmart have teamed up to increase awareness around child car seat safety ahead of the festive season.

The Wairarapa Road Safety Council is holding a free two-week collection of expired child car seats from 5 – 19 December. Road safety council Child Restrain Technician Holly Hullena says seats can be dropped off at REAP House (340 Queen Street) in Masterton, the Salvation Army (High Street) in Carterton, and the Featherston Community Centre (14 Wakefield Street) in Featherston.

This is the second year the road safety council is running the seat collection project, she says.

The Wairarapa region has no car seat rental options, which has led to expired car seats in particular being a huge issue, Holly says. “Although we have outlets such as Farmers, Super Cheap Auto and The Warehouse, all in Masterton, that sell certified car seats, it’s not always an affordable option for families in our region.”

“With best intentions, people are known to give seats to family members or friends in goodwill, sell seats second hand online through various streams or drop them off to Hospice and second-hand stores, but 8 out of the 10 seats have already expired, putting the next users at risk,” Holly says.

“You might think it’s just about selling more car seats, but there are very important safety reasons for placing an expiration date of 6 to 10 years after the date of manufacture, such as materials wear out, technology improves and safety standards change.”

The road safety council will also be offering advice on the best places to purchase new seats and where else (out of town) you can contact to hire a certified car seat, Holly says.

SeatSmart programme manager Toni Bye says partnering with the road safety council is an excellent way for the programme to help promote road safety – a core objective of SeatSmart – and recycle seats from the region.

Seats collected from Carterton and South Wairarapa residents will be recycled through the SeatSmart programme. “This is thanks to funding from Carterton and South Wairarapa district councils. The collected seats will be dismantled and components like the metal and plastic recycled,” Toni says.