More than a fifth (22%) of parents and grandparents who transport children by car admit to not using a child car seat all of the time putting lives at risk, new research carried out for the RAC Shop has revealed.
While 16% of those who confessed to breaking the law by not properly securing their youngest passengers said they had done so only very rarely, a worrying 3% said they regularly do this and another 3% say they do it sometimes.
Looking more closely at those who say they regularly don’t use a specially designed car seat for their child or grandchild it appears to be most common with those aged 45-54 (6%). Among those who say they have done this very rarely, the most prevalent are drivers aged 17-34 (18%) and those grandparents over the age of 65 (16%). It is also slightly more likely to be done by men than women – 17% men v 15% women.
The biggest reason given by parents and grandparents for not securing their child or grandchild properly was not having access to the car seat as it was in another vehicle (54%), followed by nearly a fifth (18%) saying they forgot to take the car seats out of another car.
Fifteen per cent said they didn’t use one due to the shortness of the journey, 9% said they discovered the car seat was the wrong size for their child or grandchild and, remarkably, 4% stated that their vehicle was heavily loaded and there was not enough space for the seat.
UK law dictates that a child must use a child car seat until they are 12 years old or 135cm tall, whichever comes first. Children over the age of 12 or more than 135cm tall must wear a seat belt.
All new-to-market backless booster seats are only approved for children weighing more than 22kg or taller than 125cm. Previously, children who weighed as little as 15kg could use backless booster seats. It’s important to note that the regulations only affect newly designed and manufactured booster seats sold after 1 March 2017. The older rules still apply for seats manufactured prior to this date.
More information relating to the law on the use of child car seats can be found on the Drive section of the RAC website.