One thing that we can all agree on as parents is that we want to keep our kids safe. We buy all of the kid and baby things that aim to keep our little one out of harm's way like all the childproofing equipment, top of the line stroller, the perfect high chair they can be strapped into and never wiggle out of. All of it. The one thing that is really one of the most important child safety things of all is car seats and they are always the most complicated thing to master, right? Sometimes we take them to a specialist, but the second you have to move the seat you are at square one all over again. So we make the most educated guess as possible. Turns out that guessing is typically wrong, as a new study reveals that two-thirds of children aren't safe when riding in their car seats.
This new study, which was done by What Car? shared the alarming statistic that 59% of children are riding in car seats that have not been properly fitted or are inappropriate for them, according to specialist organization Child Seat Safety. Translation: we need to do better for our children.
The study was done by examining 30 different car seat checking events that happened in the UK in 2016 and 2017. During these events, cars that had already had car seats installed for their children installed in their vehicles were pulled over and the seats were inspected - both with and without children in them. The check was done on 3000 seats and revealed that 36% of them were incorrectly fitted to the car, 33% of those that had children in them weren’t suitable for their occupants and, most alarming, 3% of children who legally needed to be in a child seat were completely unrestrained.
Taking that worry one step further, this study also revealed that there are issues with the seats themselves. Apparently, the latest child seat designs have many compatibility issues. In many situations, seats with a large impact shield that sits across the child’s body holds them in place instead of a conventional five-point harness, more than 90% of children were correctly restrained. On the other hand, seats with harnesses were properly adjusted in only 61% of cases. Lastly, seats with Isofix mountings that click into points on the car’s chassis had fewer problems than seatbelt-secured seats; 79% of Isofix seats were correctly fitted, compared with 52% of belted seats.
Obviously, we all need to be paying better attention to the way we're installing car seats and really looking into the products that we're buying to make sure they are up to date with current safety standards.
The study also mentioned that they are working toward finding a new way to educate parents on these issues. Dave Adams, road safety officer with Avon and Somerset Police, shared, “The aim is to have something to offer new parents, grandparents and anyone else who looks after children. It works on smartphones and tablets as well as computers and, importantly, it’s free to use and will be promoted in shops and schools so that it reaches the widest possible audience."
Until this technology is readily available worldwide, it's important to make sure your child's seat is installed properly and checked every single time you move it.