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When Should Child Car Seats Stop Being Used?

Mums and dads are willing to take their time before removing safety restraints for their children as they get older, according to new research.

The study, commissioned by Slater and Gordon Lawyers in Australia, revealed that one in five parents would continue to use child car seats beyond the legal age, provided they fit.

Other people surveyed said they were looking forward to the day they could legally stop using child restraints in order to free up space in the back seat.

With up to 80 fatal collisions involving children each year in Australia, however, it is hoped that more and more parents will realise that keeping their child strapped in for longer is essential to keeping them safe from harm.

Child Car Seats in the UK

In Australia, children must wear seat restraints until they are seven years old.

The law in England and Wales is different, stating that children must normally use a car seat until they are 12 years old or 135cm tall, whichever comes first.

Earlier this year, we blogged on the shocking link between seatbelt complacency and child deaths, as 2014 saw the first full year rise in the number of children killed or seriously injured on our roads since 1995.

I’d urge all parents to take those extra few moments to make sure their child is strapped in securely – no matter how urgent the journey – and to check that the seat is appropriate for their child.

Ensuring a Child Car Seat Fits Properly

The UK is slowly introducing i-Size rules for child car seats. i-Size is a European regulation which makes it compulsory for children to travel facing rearwards until they are 15 months old.

Child car seats made the news again in the UK recently, or in Powys in particular, where it was reported that a large number of child car seats had failed tests.

Parents should know how to properly fit car seats for their children and a good source is the Good Egg Safety website which offers tips on how to fit the new ISOFIX seats properly.

Good Egg Safety also stress that not every child seat fits every car and that even ISOFIX seats aren’t automatically compatible with other cars.

It’s great that such good education around the use of child car seats is available. I’d now urge the UK government to ensure that parents in the UK are educated on the sheer importance of using child car seats in the first place. Hopefully then we will start to see the number of fatalities fall again year on year.

Deborah Johnson is National Practice Development Leader for Road Collision at Slater and Gordon Lawyers UK.

Slater and Gordon Lawyers offer a free consultation for people injured in road traffic accidents through no fault of their own. Call us on freephone 0800 916 9046 or contact us online and we’ll get back to you.

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