Roadside checks educate parents of in car safety
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Hundreds of parents and carers have benefited from the free in-car safety checks which took place in Filton, Kingswood, Soundwell, Thornbury and two in Yate between April and October.
The large majority of motorists who were stopped and given advice about fitting the seats correctly welcomed the reassurance they received from road safety officers and police officers.
Of the 835 checks, we found 346 child car seats were fitted correctly however more than half were incorrectly fitted with 393 children carried in car seats that were not safe or properly adjusted. We found 91 had major faults, 273 with minor faults and 29 seats were incompatible with the make of vehicle. 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 seatbelts.
Young people travelling in cars as passengers were also measured to ensure they are the correct height to safely use seatbelts. Of the 92 young people measured for their height, 41 were found to be under the legal limit of 135cm with no booster seat available. Four people who visited the checks on foot for advice were also given car seat safety information.
Road safety officer Pamela Williams said: “These car seat safety checks provide a great opportunity to find out from experts the right way to fit in-car child safety seats. Each year around 100,000 children are involved in car accidents in the UK and the way their car seat is fitted can make a huge difference to whether or not they sustain injuries. The best way to protect them is by investing in a properly fitted seat which is the appropriate size for their weight and height.
“These free checks are offered to give reassurance to parents that their children are safe and secure when travelling by car. We check child car seats to ensure that they are fitted correctly and we also educate drivers of the laws concerning child passengers and of potential dangers. As a driver, if you are convicted of failing to ensure that a child passenger is using an appropriate child restraint or wearing a seat belt, you could face a fine of up to £100.”
PC Dave Adams, road safety officer for Avon and Somerset Police, said: “Child car seat safety is an area of road safety that doesn’t often receive a great deal of publicity or awareness. I’m positive these days of action have gone some way to highlighting the need for all drivers who transport children to ensure they are doing so safely.
“A large number of the seats we checked were not fitted correctly and were putting children at risk of serious injury should they have been involved in a collision. I urge everyone who has a child car seat to check it is fitted correctly and ensure that the straps are adjusted correctly as the child grows. By getting their child seat checked and replaced if needed, drivers also avoid risking a fine should they be stopped by the police in the future.”
There will be more car seat safety checks taking place in 2014. In the meantime, anyone requiring further advice can contact the council’s road safety team on 01454 863606 or visit www.southglos.gov.uk/childcarseats
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