Millions of parents in the UK are breaking the law and could be putting their children at risk, according to recent research commissioned by Britax, the child car seat manufacturer.
The report found that one in five parents often let their children travel without sitting in a child car seat and a quarter do not even know how to fit their child’s seat.
The most common problems parents face are difficulty in getting the seat to feel sturdy, not being able to pull the seatbelt round, and not knowing where the seatbelt goes.
As well as difficulty in understanding how to fit car seats, one in 10 parents admitted they were ‘too lazy’ to ensure their children are sitting safely in a car seat at all times. Almost a third said they did not always have time, while a similar amount did not feel that car seats are necessary. A fifth would be happy to let their child travel in a car with someone who didn’t provide a car seat, despite the law stating all children under the age of 12 must use some form of car seat unless they are taller than 135cm.
The research also shows that less than half of parents had their car seats fitted properly, and most admitted to forgoing safety and buying a cheap option rather than the best one for their child’s size.
The research was commissioned to highlight the importance of the car seat anchoring system ISOFIX. It found that only 30% of car seats are installed correctly when using an adult seatbelt, compared to 96% of ISOFIX seats. As of February 2012, it will be a legal requirement that the ISOFIX system is integrated into a minimum number of seats in all new cars.
Mark Bennett, child safety expert at Britax, said: “It’s very worrying that this research has revealed that so many parents are breaking the law by not securing children in the car properly. Parents are always hectic and being in a rush is something we can all sympathise with. But it’s imperative that parents take note and adhere to the laws set in place to ensure their children’s safety when travelling in a car.
“We have listened to what parents have said about fitting child seats and we know that parents find installing them confusing and don’t always feel that they have the time to use one. Car seats which are installed incorrectly will not be as effective in protecting a child in the event of a collision, so it’s very important that we encourage parents to use car seats correctly every time.”
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