Survey says over half of child car seats dangerously fitted

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 Parents are being told they need to have their children’s car seats double checked by experts after it was found that over half of car seats tested as part of a safety campaign were incorrectly installed.

The Scottish Good Egg Guide to In-Car Child Safety asked parents to have their car seats checked inside of their vehicles at multiple events in Scotland over three months. They found that out of the 803 car seats that were checked a total of 466 were not correctly installed potentially placing many young children at risk in the case of a car accident.

 Although the figures are a slight improvement on last year’s results and supports recent government data which stated there were no infant deaths due to an ill-fitting car seat in 2012, the campaign organisers are calling for retailers to better support and educate parents when they’re making this vital purchase.

 Of the 466 incorrectly fitted seats this year, there were 301 with minor faults – belts, harnesses or headrests that needed to be adjusted – and 100 major faults, which included belts that were incorrectly routed, crunched buckles or even seats that were placed on the front seat while the air bag was still activated. Sixty-five of the seats were either unsuitable for the child or incompatible with the car it was sitting in.

 Jan James, CEO of Good Egg Safety said: “Any parent would shudder to think they’re putting their child’s lives in danger on a daily basis but if they don’t have their car seats properly fitted, unfortunately, that’s what they’re doing every time they climb into the car.

 “We were shocked again this year to meet parents who had bought some wonderful car seats for their children but they were either incompatible with their car or were totally unsuitable for the child. It begs the question of the retailer in this whole equation; they need to be giving advice and expertise to parents and helping them to choose the correct seat for the job, rather than perhaps purely thinking of sales targets.”

 The Scottish Good Egg Guide offer retailers the opportunity to join the campaign to demonstrate their commitment to car safety. By joining, they agree to be monitored to ensure they are providing a bespoke service to their customers, asking about their personal circumstances such as vehicle make and model, the child’s age and weight, and then offering suitable options based on those factors.

 Arnold Clark, the award-winning car dealer, sponsored the research this year. A spokesperson for the company said: “We welcome the opportunity that Good Egg Safety gives to educating parents about in-car safety and we hope that their hard work results in preventing serious injury or death to Scotland’s children.

 “As a company with family at our very core, we are passionate about making sure everyone is safe when they sit in a car. It’s why we were delighted to sponsor such a worthy campaign this year.”

 Michael McDonnell from Road Safety Scotland added: “The results of this year’s campaign send out a clear message to parents and carers about the importance of checking the child-car-seat combination. As the figures are slightly better than last year, we know the message is getting through but there is still a lot of room for improvement.”

 Scottish Good Egg Guide to In-Car Child Safety has been running its campaign for 12 years, with the aim of ensuring that babies and children are able to travel safely by offering parents and carers the opportunity to learn more about in-car safety.

 In 2012’s campaign, 794 in-car child seats were found to be incorrectly fitted (427 failed on minor issues, 251 on major faults and 116 were incompatible). The remaining 640 were correctly fitted.

 For further information and advice on buying a child car seat, please visit www.goodeggcarsafety.com/scotland.