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Child Car Seat Information

Your Child Is Precious Don't Take Risks With Their Safety

A child under the age of 12 who is less than 135cms tall should not travel in a car,van or other goods vehicle without the appropriate safety seat.  When you buy a car seat make sure it complies with British Standards and carries the "Kitemark" or the European E mark. Many new cars now come equipped with the ISO fix system (Click here for more information opens in a new window) which makes securing the seat in to the vehicle much easier. Never buy a secondhand seat as you do not know its history and once a seat has been involved in a collision it should be discarded and a new one purchased. Always shop around for your car seat, ask questions of the place you intend to buy from and ask them to show you how to fit the seat. If a seat is incorrectly fitted it can greatly reduce its effectiveness in a crash

 

Never But a Second Hand Car Seat

Before Birth

It's all too easy to neglect wearing a seatbelt when you are pregnant, especially if it is uncomfortable. But if you don't you are putting both yourself and the unborn child at risk. If you wear the seat belt correctly it will be comfortable and will keep mother and unborn safe.

Make sure the diagonal belt comes over the shoulder, between the breasts and to the side around the "bump" . The lap belt should be flat on the thighs under the bump. A "bump" belt can be purchased and used to keep the belt in position. Do not allow the seatbelt to be slack, loose or twisted. It must be snug and comfortable to be effective.

 

New Born

It is vital to have the correct car seat for your baby from their first journey home. Since the18th September 2006 the law requires that children are restrained in cars. Babies can be killed or seriously injured in car crashes if they are not properly restrained. Never hold a baby in your arms when the vehicle is moving. In the event of a crash the forces generated will increase the baby's weight by up to 30 fold. This means it will be impossible to hold on to them and they will be flung from your arms and possibly through the vehicle windscreen. Never use a rear facing car seat in the front of a car with an air bag fitted unless it can be turned off. In the event of a collision the explosive force of the airbag inflating can kill or seriously injure the child in the seat. A baby under 9kg ( 20lbs)  must be carried in a rear facing seat.

 

Over 9 months

At about 9-12 months (minimum weight 9kg [20lbs] and when they can sit unaided) toddlers can travel in a forward facing car seat. Many types of seat are available from many different manufacturers. Some manufactures have models that will allow adjustments to cater for children all the way up to twelve. Some seats can be used until the child is four years old or 15kg ( 33lbs).

 

4 to 6 Years

From about the age of about four (from 15kg [33lbs]) your child can use  an adult seatbelt in conjunction with a child safety seat made especially for the purpose (not a household cushion). Always ensure the seat belt sits across the child's chest and shoulder not their neck and across the pelvis not the stomach.

 

6 to 12 Years

Once a child reaches 22kg (48lbs) a safety cushion without a back (again one made especially for the purpose (not a household item) can be used. These provide less protection in a side impact collision but can be used for a child over the age of 6. A child is ready to wear a seatbelt when they reach 135 cms (4' 5") in height (or their 12th birthday - whichever occurs first) and when the seat belt fits across their shoulder and chest not across their neck.

 

Always remember to make sure that you your children and any other passengers are properly restrained every time you go out in the car  

 

What the law says

  Front Seat Rear Seat Who is responsible?
Driver Seatbelt must be worn if fitted    Driver
Child under 3 Years Correct child restraint must be used.
Correct child restraint must be used.
If one is not available in a taxi, may travel unrestrained
 Driver
Child from 3rd birthday
Up to 135 cms in height.
(or 12th birthday which
ever they reach first)
Correct child restraint must be used. Correct child restraint must be used where seatbelt is fitted. Must use adult belt in a rear seat if correct child restraint is not available:-
  • In a taxi
  • For a short distance in an unexpected necessity.
  • If two occupied child restraints prevent fitting a third
 Driver
Child 12 or 13,over 135 cms in height Seatbelt must be worn if fitted Seatbelt must be worn if fitted  Driver
Passenger over 14 years Seatbelt must be worn if fitted Seatbelt must be worn if fitted Passenger

 

Due to the number and variety of child seats unfortunately the road safety team cannot offer advice on the way they should be secured in to a car. Please refer to the manufactures instructions or the retailer where you purchased the seat.

Bedford Borough Council Road Safety Team      

 telephone (01234) 228336

Email road.safety@bedford.gov.uk

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