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Four out of five parents can't fit child car seats

FOUR out of five parents put their child's life in danger by not fitting their car seat properly.

Incorrectly-fitted child seats can lead to serious or fatal injuries in the event of a crash, the Road Safety Authority said.

Research shows that many parents and guardians are installing child car seats wrongly, the RSA revealed as it launched its national mobile child car restraint checking service.

Currently run twice yearly, it now plans to make the 'Check It Fits Roadshow' a permanent, national, year-round service.

The roadshow aims to raise awareness of the need to keep children correctly restrained in the car and to educate parents and guardians on the correct way to install the seats.

It also aims to remind parents that they have a legal obligation to ensure that their child is properly restrained.

The Roadshow visits an area, such as a supermarket car park, where parents can get their car seat checked by an expert, free of charge.

The expert will check the child restraint for compatibility with the car, for the child and whether the restraint has been fitted correctly.

Booster

"For example, not every child restraint fits every car -- equally, the child may be too big/small for the child restraint they are using.

"Another common problem is the routing of the seatbelts," the RSA said.

A key requirement of the roadshow tender is to maintain and develop the expertise of the child restraint expert, the tender documents say.

The child seat roadshow will operate for three days a week or for 150 working days a year.

Previous research showed that 77pc of child fatalities in crashes between 1996 and 2000 were due to lack of or misuse of child restraint seats.

Under EU law, all children must travel in a child seat, booster seat or booster cushion.

Children under three can only travel in cars or goods vehicles fitted with the appropriate child restraint, although taxis are exempt.

Children between the ages of three and 12 must use an appropriate child restraint in cars or goods vehicles if they are fitted with safety belts.

In passenger seats with an active airbag, rear-facing child restraints must not be used.

According to the AA Motoring Trust: "Ensuring a child is properly restrained in a child car seat can reduce injuries by a factor of 90-95pc for rear facing seats and 60pc for forward facing seats."

mlavery@herald.ie


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