One Third Of Motoring Parents Are Unsure Of Child Car Seat Laws

New research reveals a third (32%) of motoring parents are unaware of the changes to the law made in September 2006.

The new regulations stipulate children up to the age of 12 (or those under 1m 35cm) must use safety seats when travelling in a car. However, a quarter (23%) of parents with children aged between three and 12 don’t use a child car seat at all and 10% of parents mistakenly think once children reach eight years old they no longer need a child car seat.

Each year, around 30 children aged 11 or under are killed while travelling in cars and around 400 are seriously injured. Many of these deaths and injuries could be prevented by the proper use of a child seat. Parents who fail to comply with the law face a fine of up to £500.

The research reveals that 70% of parents did not replace their baby or child seat following a car crash.  Even if there is no visible damage, the force of a car accident can weaken a child seat to such an extent that it will not provide adequate protection in another accident.

Frances Browning, spokesperson for Churchill Car Insurance said: “The law was introduced to force parents to take child safety in the car seriously. It’s worrying to see that so many parents are either unaware or deliberately flouting the law.  Irrespective of the reason, they are putting lives at risk.”

Cost is also a factor, with four per cent of parents who crashed, saying their child’s safety seat was too expensive to replace after the accident.

Browning added: “As a leading motor insurer we help parents with replacement costs of child car seats after an accident.  If a customer has a child car seat fitted to their car and is involved in an accident and the child was in it, Churchill will pay replacement costs for a new one of a similar standard. We will also pay for the replacement of child car seats which have been in an accident but have no signs of visible damage.”

Churchill’s research reveals the top five reasons parents fail to replace their child’s car seat after a crash:

  • Low speed accident (21%)
  • Didn’t think they needed to (15%)
  • No apparent damage (9%)
  • They had it inspected but were told it was ok (7%)
  • Their insurer wouldn’t pay for it (5%)

Of those parents with car seats fitted in their vehicles, nine per cent do not feel confident they have fitted the child seat correctly and only 14 per cent seek professional help to fit the seat.

19 September 2007 Staff

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