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Child car seats – it’s getting better all the time

Press release   •   Aug 05, 2013 14:13 BST

More parents are keeping their children safe by properly installing child car seats, according to the latest council findings.

The positive results emerged from a recent clinic delivered by Bury Council’s road safety team, in partnership with Child Seat Safety and ASDA Pilsworth.

The annual event allows parents to have their car seats checked for free, and receive advice on the best seats to install.

In 2012, only 17 (32%) of the 53 car seats checked were fully correctly fitted, but this year that number rose to 45, or 48%, of the 93 checked.

Jan Brabin, senior road safety officer, said: “The vast majority of parents are now more aware of in-car safety and have child car seats installed in their vehicles. Perhaps the biggest issue now is ensuring that the child car seat is installed correctly and is appropriate for the child and the vehicle.”

She added: “While this year’s results are positive, it must still be noted that 37 seats were incorrectly fitted, and ten seats were deemed to offer insufficient protection.”

The law says that all children must use an appropriate restraint in the car until they reach the age of 12 or a height of 135cm. There was only one child at the clinic shorter than 135cm and under 12 that didn’t have a car seat to use. Children need additional protection in cars because their bodies have not fully developed and they are particularly vulnerable to head and neck injuries in a crash or collision.

Julie Dagnall from Child Seat Safety said: “Fitting child car seats correctly can be complicated, given the huge variety in the types of child car seats and vehicles available on the market. We always recommend purchasing from a retailer that will show you how to fit the car seat and let you try before you buy. Child car seats are not universal, but developments with ISOFIX and I-Size will seek to improve compatibility and ease of use.”

Most Common Problems:

  • Child restraints requiring harnesses were too loose or incorrectly positioned on the child’s shoulders.
  • Seatbelts not installed according to the manufacturer’s guidance or the instructions provided with the restraint.
  • Adult seatbelt too loose or twisted preventing incorrect fitting of child restraint.
  • Head restraint used to restrict movement of the child restraint.

General Observations:

  • 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 conjunction with the child car seat.

In-car safety top tips:

  • It is illegal to put a rear-facing child seat in the front passenger seat of a car where there is an 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 from the internet as you will not be shown how to fit them and it 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.

ENDS

Press release issued: 5 August 2013.