Child-seats: Chilling video prompts question if they should be part of special 'NCT-type' test
Published 08/04/2015 | 02:30
We know, too well sadly, how many children were killed on our roads last year.
But we don't know how many are living and coping with serious injuries as a result of an accident.
RSA children's road safety conference chairman Fergus Finlay made that poignant point before introducing us to the experts at a recent international event.
Heartbreak was never far from the surface.
Pictures of deep sadness were painted against a backdrop of research and resolve on what needs to be done to avert the nightmares.
Among those making telling contributions were the Garda Commissioner Noirin O'Sullivan, the RSA's Liz O'Donnell and Moyagh Murdock, and several experts. And, most of all, those who had lost a child.
There was no doubting the pain, empathy, understanding and drive to get us to a level where, like Sweden, child road-deaths are noticeable by their virtual absence.
Critically, that includes ridding ourselves of the risk posed by incorrect or badly-fitted child seats.
Charlie Bird's simple video chilled. In his inimitable way he found, spoke to and showed ordinary people in ordinary cars with ordinary child seats.
Only they were not ordinary.
Some of them were potential killers. They were, in turn, loosely and incorrectly fitted. He identified that four-in-five child seats are incorrectly installed.
I don't want to be graphic, but the expert he spoke to said that, in one case, if the car stopped suddenly the child would be flung through the middle of the cabin, with serious injury a certainty, and death a distinct possibility.
Sweden, The Netherlands, both world leaders, have been applying everything at their disposal, with real success it seems, for 30 years.
So the time is 'now' for Ireland to follow suit with whatever it takes.
Of course every suggestion put forward is fraught with difficulty and practical hurdles. That shouldn't stop us.
Is it beyond the bounds of possibility, for example:
- that we bring in a special 'child-seat NCT' test?
- that we ask drivers when they are insuring/taxing their vehicles if they have child seats?
- that those who have, can produce a certificate of compliance - that the seats suit and are fitted properly - before they are allowed renew tax or insure the vehicle?
Of course there would be those who would dodge the issue and say they hadn't got child seats. They would carry a heavy, heavy burden of guilt and responsibility if anything happened.
The conference made us think of ways of removing the nightmare of a child's death or injury in a car or on the road.
Any ideas? Let me know at: firstname.lastname@example.org