Experts say the majority of parents misunderstand child car seat rules

Posted in Safety.

New research has shown that parents are ignoring the safety guidelines around the correct use of child car restraints and it’s meaning kids are at risk of injury or worse.

Rethink those car seats, mums and dads

Experts say we need to rethink our approach to child car restraints and keep children in them for most of their early and primary school years.

A survey carried out by Melbourne’s Royal Children’s Hospital revealed two-thirds of children aged between seven and ten were not using booster seats when they were travelling in a vehicle. This is unsafe.

Fifty percent of children between seven and twelve were sitting in the front seat when they travelled, which also contradicts safety recommendations.

And a whopping two-thirds of toddlers are travelling in front-facing booster seats which is unsafe too.

Child in car seat

Parents need the right information

Ignoring or misunderstanding recommendations around travelling safely with children means they are at risk of injury, even in a minor car accident, doctors say.

This research indicates that families are not aware of optimal safety guidelines around car seats. Perhaps they are following the example of others in their community, to the detriment of their children.

“This study shows that parents are unaware of best practice recommendations when it comes to car seats and kids,” study’s lead researcher Dr Anthea Rhodes told the ABC.

“Parents are following the law but unfortunately the law does not reflect the safest practice.”

Mum and child beside car

It’s time for a rethink on the use of car seats and boosters

Dr Rhodes says that of the more than 1,600 parents surveyed in the poll, only 3 percent were aware of the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) safety recommendations.

Those NHMRC recommendations state that only children who are taller than 145cm are safe enough to travel without further protection.

“This study certainly suggests there is a need to review current legislation when it comes to what’s appropriate for booster seats and kids in cars,” Dr Rhodes continued.

“Research has progressed a lot in recent years and tells us clearly now that having that booster seat for longer is much safer for children.”


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