Fifers urged to check their children’s car seats are fitted properly

Families can get car seats checked at clinics being held across Fife.
Families can get car seats checked at clinics being held across Fife.
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Fife Council is once again running its successful in-car safety campaign over the next few months.

This campaign is aimed to raise awareness among parents, grandparents and carers about the dangers to young children of incorrectly fitted or inappropriate child car seats and to ensure that the child is in the correct seat for their age, weight and height.

Sandy Allan, road safety manager for the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents in Scotland, said: “The safety benefits of carrying children in approved child restraints are widely recognised but these seats are very much dependant on ensuring the restraint is a good fit for the vehicle and appropriate to the size and weight of the child using it.

“RoSPA welcome the opportunity to assist in delivering a training programme which ensures care professionals and those giving advice or guidance to the general public have the correct knowledge and practical skills necessary.

“Child car restraints do significantly reduce the risk of injury in the event of a collision but to maximise this they need to be appropriate to the child’s development and compatible with the car in which they are fitted.”

As part of the campaign, Fife Council’s safer communities team will hold a number of free car seat clinics across Fife from May to August.

Parents can have their child car seats checked for safety and be offered advice by RoSPA trained staff.

Gillian Kelly, project officer within the safer communities team, said: “Last year 75 per cent of the child car seats that Fife checked turned out to be incorrectly fitted. This ranged from the seatbelt being too loose to the seat being completely incompatible for the child.

“In those situations the children sitting in those seats could have been in danger if the car was to be involved in a road collision as the child car seat would not have performed as safely as it is designed to do.

“I would encourage all parent, grandparents and carers to come along to one of our free clinics and have their child car seats checked for peace of mind by our RoSPA trained staff.”

It’s a startling fact that an unrestrained child passenger can suffer fatal injuries in a collision at less than 5mph. Although well-intentioned parents may be well versed in buying a car seat, the danger of serious injury is just as great if the seat is not fitted properly or if they have chosen the wrong type of seat for the height, weight and age of the child.

If properly restrained a child is three times less likely to sustain a head injury in a collision than an unrestrained child.

Councillor Margaret Kennedy, who chairs Fife Council’s safer communities committee, said: “According to the Department of Transport ‘Think’ campaign, 80 children aged 0-4 years were killed or seriously injured as car passengers in 2014.

“This accounts for 28 per cent of road casualties for this age group. These are startling statistics and devastating to all families involved.

“We strongly urge anyone with responsibility for carrying children in their car to learn more about this vital issue by getting their child car seats checked out at our clinics.”

A list of these dates can be found on the facebook page www.facebook.com/fifecommunitysafety or parents/carers can email roadsafety.education@fife.gov.uk or call 03451 555555 etc 402057.