Many parents are cutting corners on safety when driving with their children. According to a new survey, 34% have sometimes allowed their children to travel without a suitable child restraint and 37% have driven with someone else’s child as a passenger despite not having a suitable seat for them.
Shockingly, 16% said their little ones had travelled while sat in the boot, and more than 20% had perched them on a cushion instead of a suitable car seat. Furthermore, 20% had ‘squeezed’ their kids into a back seat containing four or more passengers, and 32% had driven with their children sat on someone’s lap.
The survey also found that 40% have had to lug around a child car seat on the off chance they might need one. Perhaps eager to avoid carrying a seat around, 20% said they would allow their children to travel in a taxi without being strapped in, and 10% would do the same if travelling overnight.
Commissioned by the company that makes Mifold – a grab-and-go portable child restraint that can be used when children might have to travel using a standard seatbelt, such as unexpected quick trips in secondary cars, using hire cars, taxis, car sharing or on playdates with friends – the OnePoll.com survey found that ‘pester power’ is one of key the reasons why parents don’t always take in-car safety into account.
Other factors include not having access to a suitable child car seat, and a lack of understanding of the rules and regulations. Of those who took part in the survey, 27% feared they had inadvertently broken regulations relating to travelling with children in vehicles, and 38% said there may have been times when others had driven their kids somewhere and broken car safety laws without realising it.
“There’s certainly confusion among parents about what’s required to keep their children safe,” Jon Sumroy, the inventor of Mifold, said. “A car seat belt chest strap must lie on the clavicle (collar bone), over the edge of the shoulder and the lap belt should rest on the bones of the hips.
“When a child is too small for a seat belt, as is the case before they are 135cm tall, it can cut into their face or neck and ride up onto their stomach – this is incredibly dangerous in the event of a collision.”