POLICE have issued a stern warning to parents after figures showed more than 250 Gold Coast drivers have been caught failing to properly restrain their children in the past 12 months.
Statistics taken from the Department of Transport and Main Roads and compiled by the RACQ show that police fined 255 people in the Gold Coast region for failing to ensure their children were adequately restrained in cars.
The staggering statistics have shocked Gold Coast traffic boss Senior Sergeant Bradyn Murphy, who said responsible parenting needed to be practised.
"My kids have known from day one and they don't let themselves out of the seatbelt," he said.
"Parents panic when their children are screaming ... and we always get the excuse the child let themselves out.
"Sorry, but start being parents. No one's going to know when an accident happens."
Senior Srgt Murphy said he understood parents could be tempted to take distressed children onto their laps, but even minor accidents could mean children being flung from their seats.
He said it was even more disturbing that 11 parents on the Gold Coast had failed to restrain children under six months of age.
"I'm shocked that we still have kids not properly restrained," he said.
"It's purely down to parent's responsibility (when they're) under six months ... it's just asking for disaster."
Senior Sergeant officer in charge of Coomera Road Policing Chris Smith said failing to wear a seatbelt was part of the 'fatal five' which also includes speeding, drink and drug driving, distraction and fatigue.
"It's part of our day to day duties with our aim to reduce road crashes," he said.
"Failing to restrain children is certainly in breach of traffic regulations. It's very alarming, especially with members of the community failing to take responsibility."
RACQ spokeswoman Lauren Ritchie said it also came down to parents not knowing how to anchor their children in properly.
"It's important to really highlight anyone travelling with children to buckle up their kids," she said.
"It could be the difference between life and death. You could also risk a fine of $378 and 3 demerit points."