Child Seat Safety with Travel Safe Bucks and Thames Valley Police
Transport for Buckinghamshire’s road safety initiative, Travel Safe Bucks, is focusing on Child Seat Safety throughout June.
On a recent roadside check with Thames Valley Police, Travel Safe Bucks met several parents and carers driving with children in the car, but not all of them were wearing seatbelts or in the correct child car seat. One reason that cropped up a lot was due to the fact the child had additional needs, such as autism, it was difficult to keep them in their seats without them becoming upset. They explained some of the issues they were facing on a daily basis during car journeys and that they didn’t know how to resolve it or where to get help.
The law states that all children travelling in the front or rear seat of any car, van or goods vehicles must use the correct child car seat until they 135cm in height or 12 years old, whichever comes first. After this, they must use an adult seatbelt.
Children with additional needs must use child car seats and seatbelts in the same way as children who do not have additional needs. However, if there is a medical reason that a child cannot use a child car seat or seatbelt, a doctor can decide whether to issue an exemption on medical grounds.
In some cases, a specially adapted child car seat may be necessary for a child with additional needs. It can be a challenge to find the right fit based on the various physical and behavioural challenges the child may experience. Parents and carers can contact companies that specialise in the carriage of children with additional needs, as they may be aware of accessories that can be used with the car seat without compromising the safety of the child.
If you have a child with additional needs that cannot safely or comfortably travel with a standard adult seatbelt or child car seat, there are a number of different solutions available based on a child’s needs. These include specially designed child car seats and accessories such as clips and buckle guards, harnesses and safety vests.
There are also car seat clinic assessments available for children with physical disabilities or challenging behaviours from the Regional Driving Assessment Centre. Child Car Seats | RDAC
If you are struggling to keep a child safely in the correct car seat, try some of these top tips from Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) which should be applied to any child travelling in a vehicle:
- Be consistent. Insist your child wears a car seat with the harness fastened. Do not give in by letting your child travel without being safe and secure. Do not drive without your child being strapped in safely.
- Explain to your child why wearing a seatbelt is important for their safety
- Lead by example! Make sure you make a display of strapping yourself in to demonstrate to your children that it’s something everybody needs to do.
- If your child unbuckles themselves mid journey, pull over as soon as you can safely do so and strap them back in.
Cabinet Member for Transport, Steve Broadbent, said:
“Wearing a seatbelt is crucial when travelling in a car and ensuring children are in the correct car seat is essential for their safety. You are four times more likely to die in a car crash if you’re not wearing a seatbelt and children are not excluded from this horrifying statistic. Children will sometimes try to fight against travelling in a car seat but it is important to persevere or get help – and never allow your child to travel without being safely strapped in.”
For more information on child safety, or the safety of children with additional needs, visit the following sites: