89% of child car seats checked by a west London road safety team were incorrectly fitted and putting the child in danger, according to the London Road Safety Council (LRSC).
In response to the findings, the LRSC has warned that many parents and carers are unwittingly putting children at risk when they belt them into a car seat.
Common faults found at the child seat clinic at a west London supermarket car park included: using a rearward facing seat in the front with an active airbag; seats incorrectly strapped into the car; children incorrectly strapped into the seat; and using a seat of an incorrect size.
LRSC urges parents and carers to be sure that the seat they are using is suitable for the vehicle, for the child’s height and weight, and that if it is a second-hand seat they are confident about its history and have instructions to fit it properly.
James Parker, spokesman for LRSC, said: “In 2006 it became compulsory for children under 12 and below 4ft 5in (1.35m) tall to use child car seats or booster seats. This legislation is estimated to have saved 50 lives a year and prevented injuries to thousands more.
“In one case (at the clinic) a two year old child was found to be incorrectly strapped into a seat with the shoulder straps beneath his arms, so that in a collision he could have been launched unrestrained from the seat. In another, a child was discovered sitting in a seat that was not strapped into anything – it was just resting on the back seat.”
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