Three sessions to help parents install the correct child car seats have been hailed as a major success.
The clinics were run by Bury Council’s road safety team in partnership with Child Seat Safety Ltd to give parents reassurance, practical advice and make potentially lifesaving alterations to any incorrectly fitted or unsuitable child car seats.
Over the three days, 167 child car seats were inspected and 125 (75%) were found to be suitable for both the child and the vehicle, and fitted correctly. This is a big improvement on results from clinics held in the last four years where, of the 375 inspections, only 176 child car seats (47%) were fitted correctly.
Officers point out that most errors are caused by confusion over the choice of car seats and how to use them properly, rather than parents making no attempt to use a child car seat at all.
Children need additional protection in cars because their bodies are not fully developed and they are particularly vulnerable to head and neck injuries in a crash or collision. As a child grows, the child car seat design changes to work with the child’s development, to protect vulnerable parts of their body.
Jan Brabin, the council’s senior road safety officer, said: “It’s very encouraging that more people are coming to the clinics and asking for advice. It is vital that parents are helped through the complicated process of choosing a suitable child car seat and ensuring that it is fitted correctly.
“Parents were very pleased with the help offered at these clinics, and the team is here all year round to provide advice – go to the road safety section of the council’s website at www.bury.gov.uk.”
Julie Dagnall from Child Seat Safety Ltd said: “Fitting child car seats correctly can be complicated given the huge variety in the types of child car seats and vehicles available. We always recommend buying from a retailer that will show you how to fit the car seat and let you try before you buy. Not all child car seats are universal, but developments with ISOFIX and I-Size will seek to improve compatibility and ease of use.”
- Don’t rush your child through the stages of child restraints. The lower stages of restraint offer more protection to younger children.
- Make sure that you have a seat that is compatible with your child’s height and weight.
- Ensure harnesses and seatbelts are not twisted.
- Check that the adult seatbelt is routed correctly if it is being used in association with the child car seat.
- It is illegal to put a rearward facing child seat in the front passenger seat of a car, where there is an active airbag fitted.
- Adjust the internal straps when your child changes clothes or as your child develops to ensure that they are secure.
- Don’t buy child restraints on the internet as you will not be shown how to fit them and they may not be suitable for your vehicle.
- Don’t use second hand child car seats as they have a lifespan of approximately five years and you cannot guarantee their history.
- If you are involved in a bump, crash or collision you should replace the child car seat even if no one was in the seat at the time. Some insurers will replace them for free as part of your policy.
Press release issued: 20 July 2016.
Picture: At the child car seat clinic are (from left) Claire Whitehouse (Child Seat Safety Ltd), Jan Brabin (senior road safety officer), Ted Booker (road safety officer) and Julie Dagnall (Child Seat Safety Ltd).