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.