Some parents never use a child seat for their little ones in the car, while others fasten their kids into potentially unsafe second-hand seats.
That’s according to research from road safety charity, Brake, which revealed that five per cent of parents with children under 10 never use a child seat or booster seat in the car. And 27 per cent admitted to fitting a used child restraint – something safety experts have deemed unsafe.
A spokesman for the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) explained that parents should avoid second-hand seats as they can’t be sure of their history. “They may have been in an accident, and any damage may not be visible.
“It is also likely to have suffered wear and tear and it may not be designed to current safety standards,” he said.
But Brake’s research also revealed that just a quarter of parents know the law on child and booster seats – a shocking figure, given that drivers convicted of failing to ensure that a child is using an appropriate restraint or seatbelt can face a £500 fine.
The law dictates parents use a child or booster seat until their youngster is either 12 years old or 135cm tall, at which point they can switch to seatbelts. However, a Brake spokeswoman said the charity advises parents to wait until a child is 150cm tall, as seatbelts are designed for people of this height or over.
Currently, child restraints are divided into groups, which relate to the different stages of child development, and are based on the child’s weight and age. However, new i-Size rules that will have gradually replaced the existing rules by 2018 base the categories on age and size, rather than weight.
|Type of seat||Weight||Approximate age|
|Rear-facing baby seats||Babies up to 13kg||Babies from birth to 12-15 months|
|Forward or rear-facing baby seats||Children from 9 to 18kg||Children from nine months – four years|
|Forward-facing child car seats (booster seats)||Children from 15 to 25kg||Children from four – six years|
|Booster cushions||Children over 22kg||Children from six to 11 years|