DRIVERS have been warned of a £500 fine and points if they break a key safety rule when traveling with their children.
Parents need to ensure the right measures are in place, including child seats, to protect their children in the car.
Failure to wear a seat belt, or failure to use an appropriate car seat or seat belt for a child, can also affect auto insurance claims.
According to Rules 99 to 102 of the Highway Code, young people must remain in a car seat until they are 12 years old or 135 centimeters tall, whichever comes first.
Car seats can be selected based on the child’s weight and height.
Those under 15 months old must be seated in a rear-facing car seat until they are 15 months old and able to sit in a forward-facing car seat.
Common mistakes parents make include installing the car seat incorrectly, adding unnecessary toys to the seat, or straps that are too loose or too tight.
If the seat feels very loose, it is unlikely to be installed correctly or may not be compatible with the vehicle model.
Bulky clothing can also pose a safety hazard as the layers add extra slack and reduce car seat protection.
A blanket can be placed over a buckled child if they need to be kept warm.
It is also recommended to avoid adding toys to the car seat. If they become detached, they become a flight hazard and can be a distraction when driving.
And the belts must be properly adjusted to avoid the child becoming detached from the seat.
One way to check is to place your fingers on the strap at the child’s collarbone.
The strap is too loose if the strap can be pinched and folded.
Also, make sure children stay in a rear-facing seat until they are 13kg or 15 months old.
Because they still develop injuries to their neck, head, and spine, they are at risk if they move forward too soon.
And as they grow, make sure you adjust the strap height accordingly.
The freedom of movement of a child’s body in an accident increases if the seat belt height is not the same as that of the child and there is a risk of injury.
For rear-facing seats, the belts should be routed through the car seat slots below or level with the shoulders.
For forward-facing seats, the belts should be above or level with the shoulders.
A general rule is that children over the age of four can upgrade to a booster seat, but this varies from case to case.
Booster seats have different weight and height restrictions depending on the manufacturer.
And if the child can’t sit still in a booster seat, it may be worth sticking with a booster seat for a while.