As a mum of 3 boys I have many friends with children of different ages. We often stand talking at school or over a coffee in town., and just occasionally us mums do talk about serious stuff and not just gossip. One conversation recently got on to the topic of car seats and which was best for what age children. One of my friends who shall remain nameless had no idea that the car seat her 2.5 year old was in was in fact the wrong one. She had her on a booster seat that used a adult seat belt for the child. She had been using this seat as it is what her mother in law had said she should be in now and would be fine. I told her nicely (I may add) that a) she needed something with more side impact protection and b) she wasn’t big enough to be in one yet as wasnt heavy enough for that type or seat. My friend looked at me in horror and said “are you sure?”. I told her that she needed to go to a retailer and see what they suggested she used. It was after this comment that I thought I would add a small article to our blog as a reminder about the importance of car seats and them being fitted correctly.
On the website www.childcarseats.org.uk it states that “The law requires all children travelling in cars to use the correct child restraint until they are either 135 cm in height or the age of 12 (which ever they reach first) . After this they must use an adult seat belt.”
Most parents know that their child needs to be in a car seat to be kept safe whilst travelling, but many are unaware that fitting a car seat wrong or having their child in a car seat that isn’t suitable for the age of their child could actually put their child’s life at risk should they be involved in a car accident.
Many car seat retailers do offer car seat checks and fitting services for free. One such retailer is For Your Child. In their store they do not sell booster cushions as they don’t have any side protection for children. They do however offer many other car seats at very reasonable prices. For Your Child state on their own blog “Of course the most important considerations when you buy a car seat are the weight of your child, the height, and whether it fits your car or not, which is why it’s so important to go to a shop and have the seat fitted. At For Your Child, we will weigh your child before recommending a car seat for you. Car seats are crash tested according to weight NOT age. It is a irresponsible to sell car seats according to your child’s age and we would advise you to bear this in mind when you visit any of the national stores or if you are buying your seat online. If you are buying online then we recommend you have it fitted or checked by your local store. You are buying a car seat to protect your precious child. It is important to get the seat that has been tested specifically to do just that and fitted correctly. We also provide car seat safety checks FREE and at ANY TIME, because we want children to be safe in your car”.
Our 3 boys use high back booster seats. Nathan and James have a seat from Mothercare that has a 5 point harness and is suitable from use from a baby being 9 months old. They cover stages 1 – 2 – 3 so are suitable until a child is 12 years old. Callum uses a Graco high back booster which covers stages 2 and 3 so is suitable until a child is 12 years old too. All 3 were purchased from Mothercare and fitted by staff as they are our local retailers who check and fit car seats.
Recently I heard the news that my friends were to become parents for the 1st time. I was over the moon for them as they had been trying for a baby for a little while. I have had the whole make sure you get the right car seat and you know how to fit it correctly conversation. I told her this is due to my concern as a friend and not an interfering busy body. She was actually quite shocked as to the amount of different car seats available and didn’t really realise that they differed so much. I also said when the time is right for her to choose her car seat don’t just go for the one that looks nicest because if it doesn’t actually fit well in your car or you cant fit it properly then it is not the car seat for you or your family. Whether or not she uses my advice remains to be seen but I really hope she has listened and taken on board what I said.
More information can be found from www.childcarseats.org.uk