Diamond

Motorists warned: know the rules about the child on board

27/12/2004

Last year 30 children under the age of 11 were killed in car accidents, but research by the Transport Research Laboratory shows that many motorists are still not restraining their child passengers correctly.

The law says that any passenger under the age of 14 is the legal responsibility of the driver. Failure to follow the law regarding child passengers could lead to a £500 fine, or even worse consequences. Now women's car insurance specialist, Diamond, is warning all motorists to be aware of the law and keep children in their car safe.

Like any car passenger, children must be properly restrained in the front or rear seat of the car, and the law regarding how they should be restrained is quite complicated. Diamond has produced a simple to follow table, to make the law easier to understand:

  Aged under 3 Aged 3 to 11 and under 1.5 metres Aged 12 or 13 and over 1.5 metres Aged 14 and over
         
Front Seat An appropriate child restraint must be worn An appropriate child restraint must be worn if available.
If not, an adult seatbelt must be worn
Adult seatbelt must be worn Adult seatbelt must be worn
         
Rear Seat An appropriate child restraint must be worn An appropriate child restraint must be worn if available.
If not, an adult seatbelt must be worn
Adult seatbelt must be worn Adult seatbelt must be worn
 
An appropriate child restraint is a baby carrier, child seat, harness or booster seat, suitable for the child's weight. An approved restraint must carry the British Standard 'Kitemark' or United Nations 'E' mark.

Diamond's acting managing director, Lorna Connelly, said, "Last year 481 children under the age of 11 were seriously injured in cars. Parents are usually careful to restrain babies when they are in the car, but as children grow older, some parents become a little more lax.

"The laws regarding children in the car are there for a reason but they are quite complicated. We'd ask any motorist who has child passengers in their car to take a little time to check the law and make sure they are restraining the child correctly. After all the child's safety is at stake."

The Highway Code also has the following advice for motorists carrying child passengers to ensure their safety:

  • Ensure children do not sit behind the rear seats in an estate car or hatchback, unless a special child seat has been fitted
  • Ensure the child safety door locks, where fitted, are used when children are in the car
  • Ensure children are kept under control
  • Ensure a rear-facing baby seat is NEVER fitted into a seat protected by an airbag

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