A number of leading child car seat manufacturers, retailers and road safety organisations have joined forces and agreed a series of actions to help improve in-car child safety.
The stakeholders – Besafe, Britax, CAPT, Cosatto, Cybex, Dorel, Euro NCAP, Halfords, IAM, John Lewis, Mamas & Papas, Mothercare, RoadSafe, Road Safety GB, Road Safety Scotland and TRL – came together at a meeting convened by Good Egg Safety, following ‘alarming’ results from its latest annual car seat checks which suggest that more than seven out of 10 child car seats may be incorrectly fitted or wrong for the passenger.
Jan James, Good Egg Safety chief executive, said: “Over the last 15 years we have checked more than 24,000 child car seats and it is a major concern to us that vulnerable little passengers are still at risk of injury or worse due to the incorrect fitting of their child seats.
“Last year, 71% of child seats either didn’t fit the car/s they were used in or were not suitable for the child using them.
“We urgently need to align all stakeholders to help tackle this problem and the fact that so many enlightened organisations have put aside competitive differences to work collaboratively with Good Egg Safety is extremely encouraging.”
The actions agreed at the meeting include: using the same terminology industry-wide so the advice given is consistent; the importance of high quality training/accreditation for everyone working in this field; the need to reach new parents before the birth of their children so they are fully informed about the choices they make; and the need to eradicate booster cushions which give little protection to a child’s head, neck and hips in a side impact.
There was also a general acceptance among those present that the new i-Size legislation needs to be simplified because it is causing confusion among parents, carers and road safety practitioners.
The stakeholders also agreed to explore new ways to help parents, grandparents and carers avoid collisions in the first place, and to encourage parents to rear face their babies for longer.
Alan Kennedy Road Safety GB, said: “This debate has highlighted the urgent need for the dissemination of vital information before baby is born to ensure safety is embedded in parents’ minds at the earliest stages.
“There is still much to do, but this leading industry group will no doubt help overcome some of the difficulties currently experienced more efficiently and effectively."
Mark Bennett, who represented Britax at the meeting, said: “Good Egg Safety and RoadSafe have done a great job in bringing together the key car seat manufacturers and retailers for an open and productive discussion.
“Clearly there are still some steps to be taken to improve car seat fitments across the country but working together towards a common objective with the focus on quality training will no doubt increase general awareness on car seat safety.”
Debbie Kemp, people development manager at Mothercare, added: “This was the first time all interested parties sat at the table together to explore how we can improve the knowledge and advice for parents and carers to help them make informed choices about how they transport their children safely. It was the first step towards an Omni channel approach.
“We now need to harness all of the good intent. I’m very excited to be part of this group and look forward to taking these all important first steps.”
Further meetings have been planned for the future.