Over a third of 8 to 11 year olds in the UK are not using a booster seat on car journeys when one is required, according to a new report by Good Egg Safety – an organisation dedicated to family safety.
Under current UK legislation children must use a child car seat until they are 12 years old, or 135cm tall, whichever comes first – and it is the driver’s responsibility to check. In some European countries this height limit is 150cm.
The fine for not using the correct child car seat is a fixed-rate penalty of £100, rising up to £500 if the matter is taken to court.
Using a booster seat provides older children with crucial protection.
Parents have been advised to invest in a high-back booster seat for extra protection for older children, rather than a booster cushion.
Sarah-Jane Martin, spokesperson for Brake, the road safety charity said: “These figures are very worrying and show that we’re not taking child car seat safety seriously enough. It’s vital that all parents understand that it’s not just toddlers who need protecting.”
Honor Byford, Chair of Road Safety GB, the charity that supports road safety professionals, said: “We know that every parent’s strongest instinct is to protect their children. The legislation on booster seats changed to ensure that booster seats provide the level of protection that children’s smaller bodies need in the event of a crash. This keeps them on a booster seat for longer than used to be the case. We urge parents to check out the legal requirements and keep their children on the right booster seat for as long as their child needs that extra protection – which is until they are tall enough for an adult seatbelt to fit their body.”
Kat Furlong, Good Egg Safety Manager and Training Expert added: “A high-back booster is far more preferable to a booster cushion, to provide children with adequate head, neck and torso protection from side impacts, which booster cushions do not offer. We implore parents to buy these instead and ensure they are the right seat for their child and car.”
The Good Egg Safety checks also showed that a high number of booster seats – both high-back models and cushions – were being used unsafely. In many instances, the seat belt was not routed properly around the child and seat, which would drastically reduce the seat’s effectiveness in a collision.
Mark Bennett, Senior Technical and Training Manager Europe, Britax said, “It’s imperative that older children do use the correct restraint system when travelling in a car until they no longer need so – when they’re 135cm tall or 12 years old whichever comes sooner. High-back booster seats will not only guide and control the position of the adult seat belt correctly over the child’s pelvis and shoulder but it will also give the much needed side and head protection in a road accident. As Britax we will continue campaigning on the safety benefits of high-back boosters and help save lives.”
Via Good Egg Safety