Child car seat safety – what you need to know
This Child Safety Week (7-13 June), Knowsley’s Road Safety team is reminding residents of the importance of car seat safety. Car seat checking events regularly find that approximately 70% of seats aren’t fitted correctly.
You must make sure that any children in the vehicle you’re driving are:
- In the correct car seat for their height or weight until they reach 135 cm tall or their 12th birthday, whichever is first
- Wearing a seat belt if they’re 12 or 13 years old, or younger and over 135cm tall
While some faults are minor, almost a third of seats checked have major errors in the way they are fitted meaning they are either damaged, fitted to a car in a way that was dangerous or incompatible to the child or car. It is also often found that children aren’t travelling in a seat at all.
You can be fined up to £500 if a child under 14 isn’t in the correct car seat or wearing a seat belt while you’re driving.
Second-hand car seats
Parents and carers are also warned that second-hand car seats could be putting children at risk. A previously damaged seat might not show visible signs leaving it weakened and unable to protect your child properly in the event of a crash. It could also have missing or worn parts that aren’t visible.
For those for whom a second-hand car seat is the only option, the advice is to:
- Not buy anything that looks as if it may have been involved in a collision
- Check that nothing is missing – including the instructions
- Buy from family or friends because you’ll know the history of the seat
- Seek professional advice on suitability and fitting from a trusted retailer
- Remember that safety standards are updated regularly, and older seats may no longer be of the required standard
- And finally, remember all car seats need to meet safety standards R44.04 or iSize (R129). Although car seats labelled R44.03 are still legal to use, they are at least 15 years old. The general life span of a car seat is 5 or 6 years due to wear and tear, something to consider when choosing your child’s car seat
We also encourage when parents are disposing of damaged or old seats, to remove the seat covers and cut off the straps so they can’t be re-used.
Sarah English from the Merseyside Road Safety Partnership, said:
This Child Safety Week acts as a timely reminder to parents and care givers to ensure their child’s car seat is safe and secure. The Good Egg Safety Guide has some wonderful advice in the choice and safe fitting of these seats and I would encourage the reading of it to make an informed decision.