Road Safety News
 

Good Egg campaign highlights extent of car seat problem

Monday 31st January 2011

On average, more than half of children across the UK are being transported in cars incorrectly, according to the results of Road Safety GB's 'Good Egg' campaign.

The campaign also showed that in some regions as many as nine out of 10 child car seats were incorrectly fitted, and that many parents and carers are unhappy with the advice provided by car seat retailers.

Alan Kennedy, chair of Road Safety GB, described the service provided by retailers as 'extremely disappointing'.

The Good Egg campaign is designed to ensure that babies and children are properly restrained while travelling in the car. The campaign was launched in autumn 2010 and a series of special car seat clinics have been running since then throughout England to help parents and guardians ensure their child seats are correctly fitted. The results from almost 2,400 seat checks, and a survey conducted on the campaign website, were published on 31 January.

Of 2,363 seats checked at the clinics, 1,221 were either incorrectly fitted or were incompatible with the vehicle they were placed in. And one in five children were being transported in seats which were found to have major faults.
 
Additional feedback from the campaign survey found that of those who bought new car seats, more than half of respondents (64%) did not receive any advice from a trained retailer, or were not asked about the height and weight of their child. Nor were they asked what make and model of car the seat would be fitted into.

Two-thirds of respondents stated that the retailers they had bought their child seat from had failed to ask even the most basic safety questions and almost four in 10 (37%) described the service they had received as ‘poor’.

Alan Kennedy, chair of Road Safety GB said: “It is extremely disappointing to see the poor level of service many retailers are providing to their customers. If seats are not fit for purpose it could literally mean the difference between life and death.

“This is the first Road Safety GB national initiative and, given these findings, it hasn’t come a moment too soon.

“We have introduced a new Good Egg Retailer Charter to help champion best retailer practice and this is currently being piloted in the north east, Cumbria and Bath and north east Somerset.

“Our plan is to eventually make it available throughout the whole of the country, as it is in Scotland, to help parents and guardians get the service they deserve.

“There’s much more that needs to be done to improve the survival of children in cars and we intend to make a genuine difference with this award winning campaign.”

Sir Arnold Clark, chairman and chief executive of Arnold Clark Automobiles, added: “We were very pleased to extend our support for the Good Egg initiative and help make a difference in reducing the number of child casualties on the roads.

"Parents and carers often don’t realise that different cars require different types of safety seat and often think that their child is properly protected when this may not be the case.

“The Good Egg clinics ensure that attendees get authoritative advice on the best type of in-car child safety seat for their vehicle and the proper method of installation, and we strongly recommend them.”

Road Safety intends that Good Egg will become an annual campaign. Parents and carers can find out where their nearest clinic is by logging onto the campaign website .  

A copy of the post campaign evaluation and survey results can be downloaded from the members' area of this website. For more information about the Good Egg initiative contact Jan Deans at Dynamic Advertising on 07980 851 360.

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Customer demand can be a powerful influence. Legislation is an even more effective way to ensure that a measure is adopted and that, for me, is the way forward on Isofix. Whether or not government will see this as a priority is another question and where I think we and other organisations can have an influence. So I am delighted that P&M will be discussing the issue and let's see where we can go with it. (Thanks Allan)
Honor Byford, North Yorkshire

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The industry will not adopt Isofix as a standard fitment until customers demand it. We need to educate parents that it is the best option, so that they choose only cars that have it fitted.
David, Suffolk

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Honor, you are absolutely right. The way forward is to have an industry standard for all cars and seats. This will be raised as an item at Policy and Management in March.
Alan Kennedy, Durham

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This is a real concern but probably no surprise to anyone involved in car seat checking. No matter how good a choice of seat and regular fitting checks etc, any free standing seat that is fixed into the car only by using the adult seatbelt will be a compromise fit. The real answer is to campaign to promote the adoption of Isofix as the only acceptable standard for child car seats for all new cars and family vehicles e.g. 4X4, MPV etc. Isofix effectively bolts the seat into the structure of the vehicle rather than trying to secure it with an adult seatbelt.
There has been a lot of progress with persuading car manufacturers to adopt Isofix but it has been unbelievably slow and tortuous. Perhaps RSGB and all the various road safety charities could get together to make this finally happen across the industry as standard? Plenty of other safety measures have been brought from invention to implementation in the time it has taken Isofix to get onto the agenda so it is perfectly possible if the will (or legislation) is there.
Honor Byford, North Yorkshire

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