More than a fifth (22%) of parents and grandparents who transport children by car admit to not using a child car seat all of the time putting lives at risk, new research* carried out for the RAC Shop has revealed.
While 16% of those who confessed to breaking the law by not properly securing their youngest passengers said they had done so only very rarely, a worrying 3% said they regularly do this and another 3% say they do it sometimes.
Looking more closely at those who say they regularly don’t use a specially designed car seat for their child or grandchild it appears to be most common with those aged 45-54 (6%). Among those who say they have done this very rarely, the most prevalent are drivers aged 17-34 (18%) and those grandparents over the age of 65 (16%). It is also slightly more likely to be done by men than women – 17% men v 15% women.
The biggest reason given by parents and grandparents for not securing their child or grandchild properly was not having access to the car seat as it was in another vehicle (54%), followed by nearly a fifth (18%) saying they forgot to take the car seats out of another car.
Fifteen per cent said they didn’t use one due to the shortness of the journey, 9% said they discovered the car seat was the wrong size for their child or grandchild and, remarkably, 4% stated that their vehicle was heavily loaded and there was not enough space for the seat.
UK law dictates that a child must use a child car seat until they are 12 years old or 135cm tall, whichever comes first. Children over the age of 12 or more than 135cm tall must wear a seat belt.
Interestingly, it was not until as late as 2006 when the law requiring children to use special car seats was introduced. The law was updated on 1 March 2017 to address concerns about backless booster seats.
All new-to-market backless booster seats are only approved for children weighing more than 22kg or taller than 125cm. Previously, children who weighed as little as 15kg could use backless booster seats. It’s important to note that the regulations only affect newly designed and manufactured booster seats sold after 1 March 2017. The older rules still apply for seats manufactured prior to this date.
RAC Shop spokesperson Sophie Steane said:
“Having the right car seat for your baby or child is essential. Our findings show that many parents and grandparents have taken risks by not using the proper seats. While many say they have only done this very occasionally and only for very short distances, you can never be sure that something bad won’t happen.
“We imagine more risks have been taken with older children than babies, but we would urge every parent and grandparent not to chance it as the thoughts of something terrible happening would be too much to bear.”
With a view to bringing the trust associated with the RAC name in the world of driving to the parent and baby products market, the RAC has launched its first ever branded child car seat.
The new RAC Come and Go i-Rotate i-Size car seat, which has been produced for the RAC by British child car seat maker Cosatto, is available via the RAC online shop, Mothercare and Halfords as well as a host of independent mother and baby retailers.
Taking precious passengers from birth to 105cm (approx. four years old), the Group 0+/1 seat offers increased protection through its extended rear-facing Isofix design which has been proven to reduce pressure on delicate heads, necks and spines in the event of a collision as a result of better force-distributing properties. It is also i-Size compliant and features an exclusive five-point anti-escape system, first-class comfort and easy-access rotation.
Capable of being rotated to the side, the seat is designed to make it easier for parents to get their children in and out of the car with the least possible stretching and twisting.
The RAC Come and Go i-Rotate, with a recommended retail price of £299.99, is available in four different patterns and colours: Road Trip (which features an RAC van among other vehicles), Traffic Jam, Mister Fox and Nordik.
More information relating to the law on the use of child car seats can be found on the Drive section of the RAC website.