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Millions of parents flout car seat safety rules

23 June 2011

 One in five parents regularly break the law when it comes to car safety for children

New research released  to coincide with National Child Safety Week, reveals millions of parents around the UK are breaking car safety laws and could be putting their children at risk. Commissioned by Britax to highlight the importance of car seat anchoring system ISOFIX, the report found that one in five often let their children travel without sitting in a car seat and a quarter of parents do not even know how to fit their child’s seat.

The research showed that the most common problems parents face are difficulty in getting the seat to feel sturdy, not being able to pull the seatbelt round and not knowing where the seatbelt goes. All of these problems can be easily removed by using an ISOFIX compatible car seat, which are secured by simply clicking the seat’s frame into anchoring points built into the car, rather than using an adult seatbelt, yet half of all respondents did not even know what ISOFIX was.


The ISOFIX system is easy to use and is designed to make it very difficult to install incorrectly – research has found that only 30 per cent of car seats are installed correctly when using an adult seatbelt, compared to 96 per cent of ISOFIX seats , making it the safest way for children to travel. The anchoring technology also means that the seat is connected securely to the car, reducing the impact of forces in a crash by controlling energy management. As of February 2012, it will be required by law that the ISOFIX system is integrated into a minimum number of seats in all new cars, making it more important than ever for parents to understand the benefits of the ISOFIX system.

As well as difficulty in understanding how to fit car seats one in ten parents admitted they were “too lazy” to ensure their children are sitting safely in a car seat at all times. Almost a third said they didn’t always have time, while a similar amount don’t feel that car seats are necessary, and a fifth would be happy to let their child travel in a car with someone who didn’t provide a car seat – despite the law stating all children under the age of 12 must use some form of car seat unless they are taller than 135cm (4ft 5in).

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