By law, the correct car seat for your child must be used. Small children need the protection that baby seats and child seats are designed to provide. Seat belts are designed for adults. Children who have grown out of child seats still need to use booster seats and booster cushions until the age of 12 or the height of 135cm, whichever they reach first.
It is estimated that this law could prevent over 2,000 child deaths or injuries each year.
• Ensure that the correct child seat is used and that it is compatible with the vehicle you are driving
• It is advisable when purchasing a child car seat to visit retailers whose staff have been trained to fit child car seats
• Ensure the correct child restraint is used for the weight of the child
• If using a secondhand child seat, be aware of its history (ie. has it been involved in an accident/impact?)
• A £60 fixed penalty notice can be applied for not using a child restraint.
Adult seat belts should not be used until the child is tall enough for them to fit properly. Child booster seats position the child correctly to use the seat belt safely. If a booster seat is not used, the adult belt can sit too high over the stomach and if involved in an impact situation there could be a risk of damage to internal organs as well as sliding under the belt. Throat injuries can also be incurred if the child is not tall enough.
RoSPA has produced a series of useful videos which can help with choosing and fitting the right booster seat. These videos and more can be found on their site.
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