A baby critically injured in a road smash Waikato yesterday has died.
Police believe the baby was sitting on its mother's lap at the time of the crash on State Highway 4, near Aria, while the four adults and a three-year-old child also in the car were appropriately restrained.
The baby was airlifted to Auckland's Starship Hospital with critical injuries following the crash but died early this morning.
District road policing manager, Inspector Freda Grace, said the most tragic aspect of the loss is the avoidability of what happened.
''Police staff located a car seat unused in the car's boot that possibly could have prevented the baby suffering the critical injuries,'' she said. ''Sadly with so many people in the car there wasn't room to fit it."
It was particularly upsetting for emergency services involved in the crash, she said.
"A number of factors are under consideration by crash investigators at this time including the speed of the vehicle as it approached a 65kmh advisory bend, the condition of the two front tyres and that there were six people travelling in the five seat Honda hatchback at the time of the crash."
It was one of two deaths from two crashes in the Waikato yesterday which also marked the start of road safety week.
Grace said the first fatality occurred on SH3 south of Ohaupo shortly before 6pm when a north bound yellow Mazda car crossed the centre line and collided with three south bound vehicles including a truck.
"The 22-year-old female sole occupant of the Mazda died at the scene while another person from one of the vehicles was taken to Waikato Hospital with minor to moderate injuries."
The Waikato Serious Crash Unit is still working to establish the circumstances leading up to the crash, she said.
''There are a number of factors under consideration at this time meaning it would be inappropriate to speculate further on what occurred."
Yesterday's fatal crashes were but two of 18 collisions to occur on Waikato roads between 6am Monday and the same time today, Grace said.
''Each had a degree of avoidability to them and while this week is road safety week, here in the Waikato every day is a road safety focus day."
Police across the Waikato will be engaged in a number of road safety initiatives this week focusing on child car restraints, driver inattention, speed, alcohol and serviceability of vehicles.
"While our staff will be doing everything they can to prevent road users harming themselves or others perhaps these latest tragedies can serve as a reminder that road safety is no accident.''
- Waikato Times