Stuart Howarth, Rochdale’s casualty reduction officer, is asking whether drivers should face prosecution for child neglect if a child car seat is incorrectly fitted.
Rochdale’s casualty reduction team has been carrying out child seat clinics at children and family centres and private nurseries, and the question arose as a result of this activity.
Stuart Howarth said: “It is nice to see that there is a steady increase in ISO-FIX child seats, and most child restraints need only a small amount of adjustment to put them right.
“However a question has been raised within our team.
“If a child is carried in a car, either not using a seatbelt or using an inappropriate child restraint, should the driver not be prosecuted for child neglect as they have failed to provide a safe environment?
“Is the fine for non-use of a seat belt sufficient, does that really get the safety message across and demonstrate how severe the injuries to that child could be?
“Drivers who turn up at centres and nurseries just don’t seem to get how serious the issue is, with the usual excuses of ‘I forgot it’, ‘it’s in the other car’, ‘they don’t like it over their shoulder’.
“Maybe things need to change?”
Stuart added: “Child neglect is an on-going failure to provide the right care and attention to a child’s needs, including food and a safe environment, or to a child’s emotional needs including warmth, security and love.
“A lack of these things is likely to result in serious damage to the child’s health or development.”
For more information contact Stuart Howarth on 01706 924605.