A new report from Good Egg Safety suggests that one third of children aged eight to 11 years may not be using a booster seat as required by the law.
The current UK law requires all children under the age of 12 years, or less than 135cm in height, to use a booster seat.
However, at Good Egg Safety’s annual checking events in 2015, from a sample of 2,351 children (11 years and under) 598 were in a booster seat and 82 were using an adult seat belt. Out of the 102 checks made in the older children’s category (eight to 11 years), 34% were only using an adult seat belt.
Good Egg Safety says this may partially because children aged eight and above don’t think it is ‘cool’ to use a booster seat.
Jan James, Good Egg Safety chief executive, said: “We are very concerned about these results. Not only is it a legal requirement for children to use a booster until they are 12 years old or 135cm, but equally importantly seat belts are designed for adult use and are not suited to a child’s anatomy.
“A booster lifts a child up high enough that the adult seat belt fits across their hips and chest safely. If older children do not use a booster and are too small for the seat belt, the belt can cause very serious, or even fatal, injuries.”
Good Egg Safety says DfT statistics show an increase in the number of children aged eight to 11 years being killed or seriously injured in collisions. In 2014, there were 2,040 casualties among this age group compared to 1,553 among children aged five to seven years.
Honor Byford, chair of Road Safety GB, said: “Every parent’s strongest instinct is to protect their children. The legislation has changed to ensure that booster seats provide the level of protection that children’s smaller bodies need in the event of a crash. This keeps them on a booster seat for longer than used to be the case.
“We urge parents to check out the legal requirements and keep their children on the right booster seat for as long as their child needs that extra protection – which is until they are tall enough for an adult seatbelt to fit their body.”
Kat Furlong Good Egg Safety’s child car seat training expert, added: “A high-back booster is far preferable to a booster cushion, to provide children with adequate head, neck and torso protection from side impacts, which booster cushions do not offer.
“We implore parents to buy these instead and ensure they are the right seat for their child and car.”
Click here for more information about booster seats, provided by Good Egg Safety.