UK drivers risk £500 fine and penalty points for ignoring child passenger safety warnings - North Wales Live

2022-06-07 07:27:42 By : Mr. minrong xu

We've included a list of the seven most common mistakes parents make when driving their children

Sign up to our free newsletter for the top North Wales stories sent straight to your e-mail

Experts are warning drivers to better ensure the safety of child passengers, or risk a fine of up to £500 and also receive penalty points, according to the updated Highway Code. The nature of the fine involves child seats, and if the correct measures are not taken to protect any travelling child, then you could face strict action.

The fixed penalty for failing to wear a seat belt as a driver or passenger is a £100 fine, although if the case is taken to court, you could face a fine of up to £500. You could also face civil proceedings for damages, if (for example) you failed to safely carry someone else's child.

In addition to the legal penalties, failure to wear a seat belt or failure to ensure that a child passenger uses an appropriate child car seat or wears a seat belt according to the legal requirements described above, could affect any claims against your motor insurance cover. All this is easily avoidable if you are willing to take adequate and appropriate measures, which will take little to effort in the first place.

Read more: Mum 'always tired after work' tells of relief at being told she has autism at 40

Experts at CarMats.co.uk have urged parents to keep make their children a priority, which will avoid hefty fines by ensuring they follow the driving laws surrounding child car seats. Under rules 99 to 102 of The Highway Code, youngsters must remain in a car seat until they're 12 years old or 135 centimetres tall, whichever comes first.

A car seat can either be chosen on the basis of the child’s height or weight. Here we take a look at the parameters:

Height based: Size seats are chosen based on the height of a child so they are the correct size for the seat. Those under 15 months must be placed in a rear-facing car seat until they reach 15 months and can sit in a forward-facing car seat.

Lie-flat or ‘lateral’ baby carrier, rear-facing baby carrier, or rear-facing baby seat using a harness

Rear-facing baby carrier or rear-facing baby seat using a harness

Rear- or forward-facing baby seat using a harness or safety shield

Rear- or forward-facing child car seat (high-backed booster seat or booster cushion) using a seat belt, harness or safety shield

Rear- or forward-facing child car seat (high-backed booster seat or booster cushion) using a seat belt, harness or safety shield

1. Car seat not installed correctly or securely

An indicator that your seat isn’t installed correctly is if the seat is considerably loose. If it can be moved with ease, it may mean that your seat hasn’t been installed properly or that the car seat isn’t compatible with the car.

Make sure to follow the manufacturer’s manual that comes with your car seat and thoroughly check its fixture in your car every time it is used.

2. Child is wearing bulky clothes

That snug puffer jacket might keep your child from getting cold, but it could also be a safety risk. The added layers can add extra slack and reduce the defence of the car seat.

Instead, you should strap your child in the seat first, then, for added warmth, add a blanket on top after. This ensures that your child is properly strapped in.

3. Adding nonessential toys to the seat

Keeping a young child entertained is no easy task, but attaching a toy to a child's seat can be a safety risk. Unless a toy or accessory came with your seat, or is recommended by the manufacturer, then it shouldn’t be used.

Toys when detached from the seat can become a flight risk and cause a distraction while you’re driving.

4. Straps are too loose or too tight

Your seat could be installed perfectly, but if the straps aren’t properly adjusted then your child could be dislodged from the seat, resulting in injury, or worse, in the event of a crash. One way to check the straps are fastened correctly is by doing the pinch test.

Simply place your fingers on the harness, where it rests on your child’s collarbone. If the strap material can be pinched together and folded, then this means the harness is too loose. Adjust the strap so the material can no longer be pinched together.

5. Going from rear to forward-facing too soon

In a bid to keep a watchful eye on children, many parents choose to move their babies into a forward-facing seat as soon as they reach the minimum age and weight suitability at 9 months or 9kg. As young children are still developing, their neck, head and spine are fragile and, if placed in a forward-facing position too soon, risk injuring these vulnerable areas.

Do you think more should be done against drivers that willingly put their child at risk? Let us know in the comments

Youngsters should remain in a rear-facing seat until they reach 13kg in weight, or 15 months old in an i-Size seat.

6. Forgetting to adjust the strap height when your child grows

Adjusting the harness strap height is not a one time job, as children grow, so should the height of the harness strap. If the strap height doesn’t match your child’s height, then it can increase the amount your child’s body can move during a crash. It also increases the risk of injury.

Parents should monitor the harness strap height according to their child’s shoulders. In rear-facing seats, the straps should come through the car seat slots below or at the same level as their shoulders. Whereas on forward-facing seats, the straps should be above or at the same level as the shoulders.

7. Moving to a booster seat too soon

Only when a child is mature enough and reaches the height and weight limit of a car seat should they move on to sit in a booster seat. Booster seats will come with weight and height limits and all vary based on the manufacturer’s instructions, however, there is also a maturity requirement to sit in a booster seat.

The general rule is that children over four can ride in a booster seat, however, this is on a case by case basis. Even when your child reaches that age, if they can’t stay still in their seat, it may be worth keeping them in a child seat for longer.