Announcement and legislation enactment improve children’s seating position in regional areas
New legislation requires all children 7 years and younger to use child-specific Australian Standards approved restraints suitable to their age and restricts seating young children in the front of cars. Observations of child seating position and restraint use were undertaken in Toowoomba and Rockhampton before the Queensland legislation was announced (T1), after the announcement but before it was enacted (T2) and after it came into force (T3). From T1 to T2, the percentage of children seated in the rear increased (69% to 75%), with a further increase from T2 to T3 (75% to 77%). This pattern was clear when there were one or two children in the car, but not when there were 3 or more. The effect on restraint use was more complex. After the announcement (T2) the percentage of children using adult seatbelts significantly increased regardless of the number of child passengers. However, once the legislation was enacted (T3) there was a significant increase in the percentage of children using child seats/boosters where there was one or two child passengers. Where there were three or more children in the vehicle there was little change in restraint choice between pre (T1) and post (T3) legislation.