Children are more at risk than adults when they travel in cars. It is worth taking the time to ensure that your child uses the correct booster or child car seats. If a passenger or driver isn’t wearing a seat belt, they are more likely to die. You want your children and family to arrive safely, no matter if you are driving to school or going on holiday. According to the Child Accident Prevention Trust (CAPT), 12 children younger than 10 are injured or killed in car accidents every day. It’s important that you do everything you can to ensure your children are safe in the car. The team at Checkreg has provided the following to help mitigate some of the main concerns.
Car seats for children
Respect the law
Safety starts with properly fitting child restraints. A car seat is essential for keeping your baby safe while on car journeys. The UK law mandates that children traveling in cars must use proper child restraints, regardless of whether they are 12 years old or 135cm (4 feet 5 inches) tall. Only approved weight-based child car seats that are EU-approved can be used in the UK. This is why it is so important to look for the capital E in the circle and the ‘ECE 44’ when purchasing your baby car seat.
Make sure the seat is correctly fitted
Every car seat is unique in terms of how it fits. All car seats are not made equal so it is important to choose the right one for your child’s height and weight. Research has shown that a third of car seats are incorrectly fitted, and that one in ten car seats is dangerously installed. It is important that your child’s car seat is correctly installed. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions and ensure that you inspect the installation every so often.
Take off any blankets or coats
Make sure to remove all blankets and coats before you place your child in the seat. If you have to use a blanket for safety reasons, make sure it is placed across your child’s body after they are strapped in.While the car is moving, do not remove your child from their seat.
You should also make sure your child is not removed from their car seat while it is moving. It may be difficult to listen to your baby’s cries, but their safety is dependent on them being properly restrained in the event of a crash. Find a safe place for your baby to pull over if you have to take them out of their car seats to feed or comfort them.
Pay up or buckle up
It is illegal in the UK to drive or travel with a car without properly fastened seat belts. You are legally responsible as the car’s driver for ensuring that all passengers under 14 years old use a suitable child restraint and an adult seat belt. Drivers who are caught breaking the law can be subject to a PS30 fine and a maximum of PS500 in court.
Make sure you fit the belt correctly
The seat belts can only be used by one person. They should not be worn around children and adults. Two people, even two children, could be injured in a car crash by being seated in one seat belt. A child should never be left unattended in a car. Unbuckled children can cause injury to themselves or others.
Make sure to use the restraint properly
Each year, too many children are seriously injured or killed on the roads. This is often due to not being properly restrained while driving. Make sure you are familiar with the law so that your child is protected as best as possible.
Experts in seat design believe it is safer and better to keep your child in their lowest group seat as long as possible. It means that your child should remain in the same stage seat as they are until their maximum weight or height is reached. Children grow and develop at different rates so it is important that you keep an eye on your child’s weight and height to ensure they don’t move up too quickly or too late.
A child restraint must be used only if the car’s seat belt is diagonally strapped.
This product is only for use with a lap belt
– Fitted using ISOFIX anchor point
Car Windows and Doors
The child safety locks should be activated
To prevent children opening your car’s doors when it is moving or stationary, activate the child safety locks. These locks can be found on the inside of your car’s doors. They are controlled by flipping a switch. Check your car’s manual to find out where the child safety lock feature is located.
The power windows must be locked
To prevent your children getting trapped or injured, it is important that you lock all power windows. Modern vehicles have electric windows, also known as power windows or automatic windows. These windows can pose a danger to young children. Over 50 children have been killed in power windows since 1990, the majority of whom were three-years old or younger. Sometimes children accidentally trigger power windows, trapping their hands, fingers and even their heads. The driver has complete control of power windows and can make the car safer for children with a push of a button
Never leave your child alone
Even if you only plan to leave your children in the car for a few minutes, it is important that they are supervised at all times. Even if you only plan to get out of your car for a few moments, there are still dangers and hazards. It is possible for a child to get out of the seat and hit the controls, causing the car’s wheels to turn. You also have the risk of the vehicle getting into an accident or setting fire to it.
Hot days can lead to high temperatures inside the car, which can cause severe harm to or even death for your child. Children are more susceptible to heatstroke and dehydration than adults. A toddler’s body temperature can rise up to three to five times faster in a hot car than an adult. You should always check the back seat before you park your car. Also, make sure that doors are locked to prevent children from climbing into cars.
Regulation 129 Child Car Seats
Regulation 129 child car seat are based on height and weight. They are also known by the i-Size name. Over time, child car seats that have been approved under Regulation 129 will start to be introduced. Manufacturers are now producing car seats for children as young as 105 cms, which is approximately four- to five and a quarter years old.
Additional Tips for Child Car Safety
- These safety tips will keep your child safe and entertained while driving in the car.
- To reduce the chance of your child taking your keys and turning the car on, store them safely.
- Ensure that your child keeps his arms, legs, and head in the car whenever it is moving or parked to the side.
- Keep any loose items in your glove box or boot. Loss of items in your car can cause injuries by flying around.
- To prevent any injuries or accidents, keep an eye on your children throughout your drive. Always ensure that your children are properly buckled and seated.
- When traveling long distances, ensure your child has plenty of distractions such as music, audio books, or soft-hand-held games and books.
- Encourage your child to be responsible for their car behavior, such as wearing a seatbelt and not allowing the car’s locks or windows to close.
- Discipline your child from shouting at the driver or kick the seat. If your child is sick or distracted, you can pull over to a safe area and deal with the issue.
- Chat with your child while driving to distract them and pass the time. Talk about what you will be doing when you arrive. Point out sights from the window. Sing along or recite nursery rhymes.
- In case of emergency, make sure to have plenty of water and snacks like nuts, fruit, and energy bars.
- Make sure you have blankets for your children in case they get cold. Also, make sure you have gloves and hats in case you need to take your car to the garage in the event of a car accident.
- Make a habit of taking your child to school on the kerbside.
- Make sure your car is roadworthy ( Check MOT History)