In today’s highly mobile society, children travel in cars more than ever. Sadly, this comes at a price and according to statistics more than 171,000 children were injured and more than 1,200 died in car crashes in 2018. This is enough to rank motor vehicle crashes as a leading cause of death for children in the U.K.
However, many of these deaths could have been prevented. Research shows that, when used properly, seat belts and car seats are the most effective tools in preventing injuries and deaths in vehicle crashes. Below is the correct information that should be followed for children travelling in a car.
Babies (up to 13 kg, group 0+ seats)
New babies travel in rear-facing baby seats that are in group 0 or 0+. Most manufacturers are no longer making group 0 though. From the moment your new baby comes home from the hospital they need to be travelling in a rear-facing baby seat.
They are safest in the back seat of your car. If they do travel in the front seat the airbag must be turned off as this could seriously injure your baby in a crash.
Toddlers (9-18 kg, group 1 seats)
Just because your baby has reached 9 kg does not mean that he or she should be moved to a forward-facing (group 1) seat. Don’t worry if your baby’s feet are pressing against the back of the car seat when they’re in their rear-facing seat. It’s still better for them to stay in it until they reach the weight limit for their baby seat or the top of their head is at the top of the seat.
Most group 1 seats are forward-facing but some rear-facing ones are available. These can cause problems in some cars so it is even more important that you try them in your car before you buy them.
Children up to 12 (15 kg upwards, group 2 and 3 seats)
When your child grows out of their car seat they can move to the next type of seat, usually a booster seat . It’s better to keep your child in their group 1 seat for as long as it fits as they offer more protection than booster seats (group 2/3). You will need to move your child to a booster seat when their eye-line is above the child seat back though. This is because they could suffer neck injuries if they are too tall for the seat. While a booster cushion is better than nothing at all, it offers no side impact or head protection. A highback booster seat is the safest option for your child.
When your child is 12 or over, or taller than 135cm they can legally move to the adult seat belt. Lots of booster seats grow upwards and outwards with your child so can still be used.
Even if your child is over 135cm it may be that the adult seat belt lies on their tummy and neck rather than on the strongest parts of their bodies – the hips, chest and shoulder. They will be better protected if you keep them in a booster seat designed for their weight as long as you can.
Around the car
If a car is reversing in a car park or a driveway the driver may not be able to spot small children if they are below the level visible from their rear or side windows. It’s safest to hold your child’s hand in car parks just as you would when crossing the road.
Store your car keys safely to reduce the risk of your child getting hold of them and starting the car.
Don’t forget that when you are making longer journeys you should check all of your levels in the car as well as tyre pressures to make sure your car is fit to drive. If this is something that you are not comfortable doing, bring the car to Barrowford MOT and we will gladly perform these checks for you.
Call us today on 01282 696351 to book your car in.