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One-third of parents have broken law by transporting children without car seat, survey claims

Drivers face fine up to £500 and three penalty points for using incorrect restraints

Adrian Hearn
Tuesday 25 June 2019 18:18 BST
SEAT releases top 10 rules for transporting children in your car

One-third of parents polled for a new survey have broken the law by transporting someone else’s son or daughter without a child seat.

One in 10 of the 1,000 British parents of children aged 12 or under said they had had four or more children sat across one row of seats in the car.

One in five let their child sit on a cushion rather than a booster seat and 33 per cent said they had transported someone else's child without a child seat.

Under the current law, children aged up to 12 years old or 135cm tall are, with a few exceptions, legally obliged to use a child seat when travelling in a car.

Drivers currently face a fine of up to £500 and three penalty points for using the wrong restraint.

In a 30mph collision, the injury sustained by a child weighing 8kg who gets thrown from a seat is similar to falling from a three-storey height.

Almost 10,000 children aged 15 or under were injured while travelling in a car in 2017, according to the Department for Transport, with 20 killed.

However, just one-fifth of parents polled by car manufacturer SEAT were confident about the rules regarding children and car seats.

One-third admitted using a car seat designed for an older child, while 20 per cent had used an incorrectly installed child seat.

Three-quarters thought the government should do more to raise awareness of car seat regulations, with 20 per cent worried they might inadvertently break the law regarding child seats.

“According to research from Spain’s Traffic Department, the difference between correct and incorrect child seat use can reduce the risk of casualty by 75 per cent and injuries by 90 per cent," said Javier Luzon, from the SEAT vehicle safety development department. “The survey revealed 40 per cent of parents are worried they have not fitted a child seat correctly. All they need to do is follow some basic rules.

“It is crucial to use the seat which is certified for the child’s height and weight, as the design of each one meets the specific requirements to protect children’s bodies."

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He added: “Make no exception during short trips. For trips lasting only a few minutes, many children are placed in seats while still wearing a coat or even a backpack, which are major obstacles for the correct operation of the safety harness. Even though the trip is a short distance, you should never forget safety is a priority from the moment you set out.”

The survey also revealed 40 per cent of respondents did not know an adult seatbelt could potentially cause serious injury to a child and 47 per cent of parents were not aware that a child under 135cm tall could, in the event of a crash, slide under an adult seatbelt if the lap strap is too high over their abdomen.


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