kids

A family holiday photo shared by footballer Sonny Bill Williams is dividing Aussie parents.

Sports star Sonny Bill Williams, 32, is currently holidaying in the Cook Islands with his wife Alana Raffie and two young children.

But the rugby union and league player has come under fire from fellow parents after he shared an image of his three-year-old daughter, Imaan, in the backseat of a convertible.

Little Imaan is wearing a seatbelt in the image. Still, many parents were concerned she wasn’t in a car seat, as per Australia’s national guidelines for child restraints.

Grateful ????❤️????????

A post shared by Sonny Bill Williams (@sonnybillwilliams) on

According to the Kidsafe, children must be restrained in a forward facing child restraint until they are at least four years of age.

It’s recommended that after outgrowing the restraint, children should use a booster seat until they are at least eight to 10 years old to ensure the proper use of seat belts.

LISTEN: What you need to know about safety with a baby.

Some of Williams’ followers left comments accusing the 32-year-old of putting his young daughter in danger.

“Car seat is needed for little ones Sonny, never travel without them,” one woman wrote.

“Beautiful picture but please make sure that seatbelt is on your beautiful baby girl properly…Or use a proper car seat,” another commented, while another just said, “No child seat you serious?”

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But some fans were quick to jump to the family’s defence, pointing out that the same car restraint rules don’t apply in some other countries.

“We just got home from Rarotonga…It’s not law in [Rarotonga] for your child to be in a car seat!” one woman said.

“Enjoy your vacation Sonny Bill and… don’t let these negative comments/fools ruin your time on a beautiful island.”

“Raro doesn’t have a law where car seats are mandatory for all the people pointing out the obvious,” said another.

Others added that the speed limit around the island – which has a population of just under 15,000 – is much, much lower than in Australia or New Zealand.

My Little fatty boobosh is growing too fast ????❤️

A post shared by Sonny Bill Williams (@sonnybillwilliams) on

TripAdvisor says the maximum speed limit on the island is 50 km/h, and in the towns of Avarua and Muri is 30 km/h.

So what’s the official advice? Kidsafe suggests parents make arrangements before travelling, because “any restraint is preferable to not using a restraint” at all.

Accidents can happen anywhere, but people really should leave parenting decisions to the parents. Sonny and Alana would have taken into account all factors before strapping their toddler into the backseat.

For more information on Australia’s child restraint guidelines, click here.

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