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Police and council offer child car seat safety checks

This news article was published more than a year ago. Some of the information may no longer be accurate.

Published: 13/10/2014

Officers from South Gloucestershire Council’s road safety team and Avon and Somerset Police are joining forces to carry out child car seat safety checks at Coniston Road car park in Patchway on Wednesday 15 October.

Between 8.30am and 4pm, police officers will stop vehicles carrying young people to allow our road safety team to check if child car seats are fitted correctly. We are offering these free checks to give reassurance to parents that their children are safe and secure when travelling by car.

Young people travelling as passengers will also be measured to ensure they are the correct height to safely use seatbelts. The legal requirement is 135cm unless they are sitting on a booster seat.

Previous safety checks carried out in South Gloucestershire have shown that over half of all child car seats are fitted incorrectly. A total of 125 child car seats were checked at a similar event in Thornbury in September and of those only 56 were found to be fitted correctly.

We found 21 children’s car seats with major faults and 34 with minor faults. Major faults included seats belts requiring re-routing and many of the minor faults were with harnesses that needed adjusting, headrests that had to be removed and twists in the seat belts.

In addition, four children were found to have no seats or any type of restraint and were under the legal height limit of 135cm. 10 children were found to be tall enough to not require a child car seat.

Drivers with no seats were given advice and had to have seats brought to the location by a friend or family member or face £100 fine.

Road safety officer Pamela Williams said: “We are not just checking for seats that have not been fitted correctly, but also ensuring that the children using them fit their seats properly.“Many of the major faults found were due to seat belts requiring re-routing. This means that the seat has been fitted incorrectly and the manufacturer’s instructions have not been followed. Minor faults included internal harnesses that were very loose requiring adjustment. In the event of a collision a loose harness could cause a child to be ejected from their child seat, so whilst it is classed as a minor fault this could be fatal in the event of a collision.

“Other minor adjustments include removal of headrests, these sometimes tend to get in the way of car seats being securely fitted into a vehicle, and twists in seat belts, which can mean they are less effective in a collision.”

South Gloucestershire Police Neighbourhoods Inspector Bob Evely said: “We’re pleased to be supporting this initiative again after its success last year.
“Having the right child car seat, properly fitted, is really important to keep children safe. So far this year we’ve found almost 60 per cent of seats hadn’t been fitted properly, so it’s really worth your time to come along and get yours checked over.
“Neighbourhood teams will be working with the council at these checks as part of our drive to work together to improve safety for all road users.”

Any parents, grandparents, childminders or carers who would like to have their child car seat checked voluntarily are welcome to stop by Coniston Road car park, Coniston Road, Patchway, BS34 5JP between 8.30am and 4pm on Wednesday 15 October.

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