The definitive guide to keeping your child safe in the car:
As we enter September and the school year begins, we know that you and your child are likely to be spending a lot more time in the car.
Sadly, car crashes are a significant cause of death and injury amongst children. So how can you make sure your child is as safe as possible? Are you up to date with all the legal requirements? This guide gives you all the details. We believe it is a particularly important read following a recent surge in faulty car seats.
Click the links below to jump to a section:
- Learn about the new baby car seat rules, introduced in 2017
- How to fit a child’s car seat
- When can your child legally travel without a car seat?
- Recalled and dangerous car seats
- Claiming compensation if your child is injured in a car accident
New baby car set laws – How to avoid a £500 fine!
New UK baby car seat laws came into affect in March 2017. The new laws means that:
- Children shorter than 125cm or who weigh less than 22kg must not use backless booster seats. Previously, children only had to weigh 15kg to sit in a backless booster seat.
- Children are required to use a car seat until they are either 12 years old or 135cm (4ft 5in) tall.
We hope that the new laws will better protect children from harm as booster seats offer little protection for children if they are involved in a side-on collision.
It’s also important to remember that:
- Only EU-approved seats can be used in the UK. Approved seats should have an ‘E’ symbol on them.
- Car seats should be selected based on your child’s height and weight.
- Babies should be in a baby carrier, as opposed to a child seat, until they weight at least 9kg.
- Youngsters must travel in rear-facing car seats until they are at least 15 months.
- If your child is found travelling in a seat that does not meet the requirements for their age, height and weight you may face a £500 fine.
How to fit a child’s car seat:
Is your child’s car seat fitted properly? If it is not it may come loose during a crash, putting your child in danger of suffering from a serious injury. Here are some tips:
- Firstly, you should always follow the instructions given to you by the manufacturer. This will help you to fit the seat as securely as possible.
- Make sure that the seat’s buckle is clear of the frame. Otherwise, the buckle could snap open from increased pressure if you have an accident.
- Only use a child car seat if the seatbelt in the car has a diagonal strap (unless the seat is specifically designed for use with a lap seat belt). Lap seat belts are normally found in the centre rear seat of an average five seat car.
- Importantly, if you are placing a rear-facing baby seat in the front of the car make sure you deactivate any front airbags.
When can your children legally travel without a car seat?
There are several instances when it is legal for your child to travel in a car without a car seat. Your child can legally travel in the following vehicles, subject to certain conditions:
- Your child can travel without a car seat in a taxi, minicab or van, but only if they are travelling in the back seat.
- A child can travel in a coach without a seatbelt, as well as without a car seat.
- A child can travel in a minibus without a car seat but they must wear an adult seatbelt even if they are under 3 years old.
- Your child can travel without a car seat if the journey in unexpected. However, this only applies if the journey is short and necessary, and the child is over three years old.
- If you have more than two children and there is no room for a third car seat in the back of the car, the third child can either travel in the front seat with a car seat, or in the back without one if they are three or over.
Watch out for recalled/dangerous car seats:
At What’s My Claim Worth we would always advise that you thoroughly research a potential car seat before and after you purchase it. Car seats are not all made the same and some may be much safer than others.
Before you buy you should look for reviews and feedback on various car seats, to make sure you are choosing the right one. We would recommend looking at the reviews of independent companies who have tested the product.
Which? is a company who are known for testing and reviewing household products. These products range from car seats to digital cameras. They independently test and review car seats, and publish great advice on which car seats are the safest. Which? also frequently publish articles letting their readers know which car seats have recently been recalled due to dangerous features.
You should always check that the car seat you are placing your child in has not been recalled after you have purchased it. Often, car seats can be recalled because they have dangerous faults. For example, the Recaro Zero.1 child car seat has recently been recalled after quality control inspections revealed that the harness may not work as intended on a certain batch of products.
The harness working properly could be the difference between a minor injury in a crash, and a much more severe one.
Claiming compensation if your child is injured in a car accident:
Hopefully, it never happens, but if your child is injured in a car accident, we advise that you get in touch with us to see if you can claim compensation.
You can find out more about claiming compensation following a road traffic accident click here.
We also discuss passenger injury claims here.
Click here to read about whiplash claims – at the bottom of the page we discuss child whiplash claims.
Contact us today by calling 0800 025 0000.
Quickly find out how much your claim could be worth by filling in our claimometer here.