This week is Child Safety Week, an annual campaign by the Child Accident Prevention Trust, to raise awareness of the risks of child accidents and how they can be prevented. To help raise awareness of in-car safety this week, Britax has put together its top three tips for keeping children safe in the car and as an official Britax Mumbassador, I’ve been asked to spread the word!
First things first is the law. Children must be in a car seat until they are 135cms tall or 12 years old- whichever comes first! From the age of 4 onwards or 15kg children can be moved to an adult seat belt and a booster seat. Britax do not sell booster cushions as they offer no side impact protection, which form one of the most severe types of collisions on the roads* and only recommend a high-back booster seat which offers deep protective side wings and head support in the event of a collision.
Secondly is fitting the car seat. Britax found that 49% of seat belts used to secure child seats may be fitted incorrectly**, often twisted, too high or fitted around the seat and not the child, leaving the child unprotected. When you purchase a new car seat, it’s a really good idea to take your car to the store and have it fitted by an in-store specialist. Make sure the seat is the right one for the weight and height of your child, and do ask your child’s opinion too! The best car seat is the one that fits both your child and car, why not try the Britax fit finder to find the best seat for your needs? http://fitfinder.britax.co.uk/
Lastly, it’s important to keep children entertained and comfortable in the car. As we all know, little ones can cause big distractions with constant questions of ‘Are we there yet?’ and if you’re worrying about your child wriggling around then you can’t concentrate on the road. Britax created a ‘Keep Calm’ guide full of tips from their Facebook community, ranging from using a washable marker pen on windows for children to draw with to giving kids a pretend steering wheel to join in with the driving! Take a look here for ideas on how to keep calm on your journey: http://ow.ly/xNjnl
Drive safely everyone!
* Casimir. Child Car Passenger Fatalities – European Figures and In-Depth Study”, Alan Kirk; Loughborough University, UK; Conference: Protection of Children in Cars, Munich, 2011.
** “Misuse: Recent Evaluations in Ireland”, M. Bennett and F. Bendjellal, 2011.