Hi there, I’m Lisa Scott and Halton Council’s Road Safety Officer. I’m here on behalf of SafeKids.co.uk to talk about child seat safety.
The law with regards to children travelling in cars is very simple. Basically if there is a seat belt available the child must be wearing it, and any child under the age of three must be in a appropriate seat, which is appropriate for their height and their weight.
The rearward-facing seat is the first stage of seat that a newborn baby will travel in. These are available in two weight ranges – one is up to 10kg and the other is 13kg, and that is roughly at 9 or 10 months old. They are both rearward-facing seats so they are to be used rearward facing only. Those rearward facing seats cannot be used in a vehicle that has an airbag in the front. They can only be used in the rear of the vehicle.
With regards to older children, they then move up to a forward-facing seat, which will take your child up to about 4 years old. These are forward-facing seats and have a separate harness which harnesses the child into the seat. The seat belt itself is actually keeping the seat secured in the vehicle and the harness will actually keep the child into the seat. Those straps will always remain snuggly fitted.
In the summer, with less clothes on with T-shirts or vest, they must fit tightly but in the winter when you are travelling with coats, when you have got thicker jumpers on, they must also remain tightly fitted and not remain loose. A loose harness on a car seat is going to cause danger and injury in a crash.
We next move on to a forward-facing seat or a booster sear, which is fitted by the car seat belt and the seat belt is fitted around the child and slotted into the car seat anchorage.
Then finally as the child is getting older they can fit onto a booster cushion, which has the back removed from the booster seat, which is the previous one.
Children up to the age of 12 or 135cm (or 4ft 5) must be in a appropriate seat for their age and their weight. If a child is under the age of 12 they must be in a seat appropriate for their age. If they are 12-13, they have to wear an adult seat belt.
Anyone under the age of 14 is the driver’s responsibility to make sure that they are wearing their seat belt. After the age of 14, in the eyes of the law, it’s the individual responsibility.
In the front of other vehicles, seatbelts should be worn at all times. In the rear of other vehicles, child must be restrained in an appropriate seat if one is available and this includes taxis, where there might not be a seat available, and they are allowed under the legislation without an appropriate seat, but that just is an exception.
The legal penalties for not using a seatbelt correctly is £500, but I think everyone would agree that is a minimum sum when it is about child’s life.
When travelling in the rear of other vehicles,h children under the age of three must use an appropriate restraint if one is available. With children aged from 3-11 or 135cm (4ft 5), they must use an appropriate restraint available and, if not, they must wear an adult belt. With child 12-13 or children over 135cm, they must also wear an adult seat belt when travelling in the back of another vehicle.
Read our articles Child And Baby Car Seat Law and Baby and Child Car Seat Safety for more information.
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