Only one in four parents knows the law on car child seats, reveals a new survey.
Now mothers and fathers are being urged to familiarise themselves with the legislation after research found significant gaps in knowledge on the issue of child safety.
A poll by road safety campaign group Brake found just 26 per cent of parents know the law on child and booster seats. And only one in six (16 per cent) said they would use a child seat in cars until their child was 150 centimetres tall, the height recommended by safety experts.
Some parents were compromising their child’s safety by using ill-fitting equipment.
The survey of 1,000 parents with children under ten also found one in 20 said they never use a child or booster seat, while more than a quarter (26 per cent) have used a child seat or booster seat that did not fit properly.
Over the next three months, 200 nurseries, pre-schools and children’s centres are running a safety campaign to raise awareness of the need for drivers to slow down to protect families.
Julie Townsend, Brake’s deputy chief executive, said: “Every year, more than 700 young children are killed or seriously injured on our roads.
“These sudden and violent events end lives that have barely begun, and devastate whole families and communities who struggle to come to terms with such senseless harm being inflicted on a young child. They are not accidents we must learn to live with – every child death and serious injury on roads is preventable.”
Nearly half (47 per cent) of parents do not always ensure their child uses an appropriate seat or booster seat when travelling in a taxi or someone else’s car, while more than a quarter (27 per cent) have used a second-hand child seat or booster seat, which is not recommended by experts.
Strapping your child into their seat reduces the risk of death or injury because if children are not properly restrained, even at low speeds they will be thrown from their seat into the seat in front, the door or through the windscreen.
UK law states that parents must use a child or booster seat until their child is either 12 years old or 135cm tall.
However, Brake urges parents to continue to use a seat until their child reaches 150cm.
Ms Townsend said: “It’s vital that parents, carers and of course the wider driving public understand how best to protect children on roads, and worrying to find common misunderstanding about child car seats.
“We recommend parents always use a correctly fitted suitable child or booster seat until a child is 150cm tall.”