The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) has unveiled a revamped Child Car Seats website to advise parents and carers on the safest way for children to travel in cars.
The website - www.childcarseats.org.uk - is visited by around 4,500 people every day. It has become a trusted source of safety information for anyone needing advice about child car restraints in the UK.
Properly fitted child car seats are very effective in protecting children if there is a car crash, but it is essential that the child car seat is suitable for the child’s weight and size. Rearward-facing baby seats reduce the risk of death and injury in a crash by 90 per cent compared with being unrestrained and forward-facing child seats and booster seats reduce the risk of death and injury by more than 70 per cent.
In 2012, 19 children under the age of 12 were killed while travelling in cars, almost 200 were seriously injured and more than 4,700 slightly injured.
The revamped website provides up-to-date information on the types of child car seats available, including seats that are fitted with the car’s seatbelts, Isofix seats, which have fitting points built into the car, and i-Size seats, which meet a new child car seat regulation.
The website also provides advice on which seat to choose for your child and car and how to use them, the law and things drivers ought to know if they carry other people’s children in the car. It is mobile-friendly and easy to navigate, especially for busy parents, who will now be able to access the website on the go via their mobile phone (but not while driving, of course), which could come in handy when out shopping for a child car seat.
Child car seats are designed and tested for children in different weight ranges and that’s what parents should be checking when they are selecting an “appropriate” seat.
However, the seats need to be fitted properly, and research shows that many parents are still struggling to use the right car seat for their child and fit it correctly. Common mistakes include moving the child into a larger car seat too soon, and not securely fitting the car seat in the vehicle. Poor fitting can mean that the seat will not protect a child in a crash.
Kevin Clinton, RoSPA’s head of road safety, said: “The child car seats website is essential reading for parents, carers or grandparents whether they are choosing a baby’s first child car seat or are looking to move toddlers or older children from one seat to another.
“The importance of properly fitting a child seat cannot be over stated; make sure it is compatible with the car it will be used in and remember to seek expert help on fitting, perhaps from a retailer who has staff trained in fitting child car seats. We encourage parents to check that the seat is fitted correctly before every journey, especially if they are regularly taking it in and out of the car.
“Do avoid purchasing second-hand car seats as they might not comply with the latest standards, the fitting instructions may be missing and you cannot be sure of their history, such as whether they have already been in an accident.”