Ensuring children are safe in properly fitted car seats

This week’s tips from the UK-based Institute of Advanced Motorists are all about fitted car restraints and ensuring your child has a safe and comfortable car journey.

If your child is 12 years old or younger they must be in an appropriate car seat. The IAM’s Communications Manager, Caroline Holmes, has some advice on ensuring you choose the right one for your child.

• Firstly, the seat must suit your child but also be compatible with your car. ISOFIX is the international standard for attachment and most modern vehicles have compatible mounts. If you already have a car seat and it moves around, it’s probably not secured correctly. Contact the manufacturer for advice and if you have any doubts replace it.

• There are legal conditions around the type of child seats you can use based on the age and height of your child. If you’re unsure, seek professional advice from a child seat provider. You can also find out more via http://www.goodeggcarsafety.com/.

• Check the condition and attachment of the seat on a regular basis as they do suffer from wear and tear. Take a look at the manufacturers tag to check the expiration date.

• Always install the restraint on the back seat of your car where possible. If the front is the only option, take the car to a garage to ensure the front passenger airbag controls are disabled.

• Small children are more at risk of spinal cord injuries in a front facing seat, so make sure you place them in a rear facing one for as long as necessary.

Caroline said: “Toddlers in particular are very prone to wriggling their arms out of the harness. Double-check the harness is the correct height and pulled comfortably around your child. If your child is uncomfortable, check the harness isn’t too tight by putting two flat fingers between your child’s collar-bone and the harness.

“Unfortunately some tough love might be needed here. Lots of children aren’t keen on being strapped in, but it really is essential to ensure a safe and secure journey for the whole family.”

71 per cent of child car seats are fitted incorrectly – check this out at: http://www.goodeggcarsafety.com