Child seat safety - Running a Car
The injury or death of a child in a car accident doesn't bear thinking about. Reading these tips and using your common sense could help prevent it ever becoming a reality for you.
• Never fit a rearward facing child seat in front of an active airbag – it's a lethal combination, and it’s also illegal.
• Always use a child seat that's appropriate for your child, no matter how short the journey is or how much of a rush you're in. The law says that any child under 12 years or 135cm tall needs a proper child seat, but that’s a minimum – there’s no reason why older/taller children shouldn’t continue to use boosters up to around 150cm.
• Failure to comply with these laws could result in a £30 fixed penalty fine, or a fine of up to £500 if the case goes to court. Parents shouldn’t need the threat of a fine to ensure the safety of their children, however.
• Help is available. Seat manufacturers will be able to tell you which seat to use, and stores such as Mothercare should have a trained staff member who can advise you.
• Children grow at different speeds but broadly speaking you'll be looking for a group 0/0+ seat for newborns and babies up to nine/15 months (up to 22/20lbs), a group-one seat between nine months and four years (or 20-40lbs), a group-two seat between four and six-years-old (or 33-55lbs) and a group-three seat up to 12-years-old (or 79lbs). All occupants over this age still need to wear a conventional seatbelt.
• Make sure you know how to use your seat. Read the instructions carefully and seek advice if you don’t understand them. Pull belts and buckles tight and check them before each journey to ensure they haven't slackened off.
• If your car has ISOFIX mounting points, it's best to use them. But remember that you may need to use an additional top tether or support foot to secure them properly.