With half-term kicking off this week, more of us will be driving children for longer periods of time, from one activity or carer to the next. But are we keeping them as safe as possible with the right seating equipment? Not according to these latest figures…
Two-thirds of child car seats are not fitted correctly and more than 83% of drivers are not aware of UK car seat legislation, according to research by the AA and Britax.
The research from 16,500 respondents, including grandparents for the first time, found that only a quarter of all people admitted experiencing difficulty in fitting a child car seat, despite evidence that two-thirds of car seats are not fitted correctly.
Even more surprisingly, 66% of respondents stated that they didn’t know that the law requires children up to the age of 12 to use a car seat, and 80% of them were not aware that UK law requires children less than 135cm in height to use a child seat.
The research also revealed that grandparents had even less awareness, with 74% stating that they didn’t know the age the law requires children to use a car seat, and 86% didn’t know the minimum height requirements.
UK law introduced in 2006, actually requires all children travelling in cars to use the correct child restraint until they are either 135cm tall or 12 years of age (whichever they reach first).
This research highlights that the law may not always be followed, and with more than 25,000 child passengers involved in car collisions each year, the AA and Britax urge parents and grandparents to review their child or grandchild’s car safety this half term.
So what’s the solution?
Using the ISOFIX – a standard system developed for fitting child seats – car manufacturers provide small and inconspicuous attachment points in standard locations in new cars which ISOFIX car seats lock directly into reducing the risk of child seats being fitted incorrectly.
The AA estimates that at least six million cars, or approximately 25% of all cars, are fitted with standardised ISOFIX fittings. Despite this, the research revealed that 74% of drivers were not aware of ISOFIX.
“It’s shocking that, despite the great safety advances in child car seat design over the past 12 years, such significant numbers of child car seats are still fitted incorrectly,” said Edmund King, president of the Automobile Association.
“Our children and grandchildren are our most precious cargo so we must do all we can to keep them safe and keep within the law.”
Following this research, the AA and Britax have developed a range of AA-approved car seats from birth to approximately 12 years, all of which utilise ISOFIX and are available from Mothercare.
There are so many options online these days if you are looking for car seats for baby travel with grandparents – and since grandparents only have the children for a limited times, you don’t have to spend too much on car seats with all the trimmings – just a basic one that meets the required safety standards will be sufficient.