Child car safety can be complicated. First of all, you have to make sure you have correctly fitted car restraints, ensuring they’re always buckled in, and your child is seated appropriately in the correct car seat for their weight, height and age.
There are several dos and don’ts when it comes to keeping your child safe in a car, so to help you out, we’ve put together a short little guide on child car safety.
Before you do anything however, you need to make sure your car is roadworthy. Halfords Autocentre is currently offering to pay for your MOT if you purchase an item in store from now until October 14. This is perfect for ensuring your car has been through all the necessary checks and is safe to drive your little-ones around.
There are many car seat options out there, including rear-facing, forward-facing and booster seats. The child and baby car seat laws changed in the UK last year, with regulations stricter than ever before.
Under these new laws, children weighing more than 22kg, or 125cm in height, can use a backless booster seat and children under 12 years old, smaller than 4 ft. 5 inches, must travel in a car seat. Babies weighing under 9kg must travel in a baby carrier at all times, and these need to be replaced when your baby’s head reaches the top of the seat.
When installing your car seat, read the manual carefully to make sure you fit it correctly, so the seat doesn’t rock from side-to-side and the harness straps fit snugly across your child. The safety harness needs to be against your child’s lap and across the chest, level with their armpits, do a pinch test and if there’s enough space to wriggle the strap between your fingers, it needs tightening.
You also shouldn’t make the switch to a forward-facing seat until your child is two-years-old, or until they’ve exceeded the height or weight limit for the seat they’re currently using. This is because before your baby reaches two their bones are still developing, so the safest position for them to be seated is in a rear facing seat.
It’s also important not to buckle your child into their seat when they are wearing a coat, as it creates padding between the car seat and your child which will prevent the straps from tightening as they should.
You won’t be the only parent to make these mistakes, so don’t worry, but try to avoid them by doing the correct research on what’s best suited for your child.