Car insurance companies urge drivers to use child seats

01 October 2008 / by Daniela Gieseler
Up to a quarter of parents do not use a child car seat when driving with children and even more neglect to ensure their children's car seats are safe, two independent studies from LV= and Direct Line found.

New laws introduced two years ago require all under the age of 12 or shorter than 135cm (4'5") to use a child or booster seat. Without this safety measure, the risk of injury or fatality in an accident rises by 69 and 71 per cent respectively, and there is also an increased risk for the driver or front seat passenger if the child in the backseat is thrown forward.

However, many drivers are ignorant of the legal requirements – 21 per cent of those who fail to comply with the law admitted they were completely unaware that these laws exist. Even worse, one in 10 of those aware of the guidelines said they just disregard them despite the danger this poses for both the child and driver.

According to the research, even in cases where an appropriate car seat was used, 24 per cent of drivers admitted they do not check if the safety seat is installed properly, potentially putting their young passengers in danger.

In addition to these findings, Direct Line car insurance and the national road safety charity Brake urge parents to replace child seats after an accident, even though there might not be any visible damage.

Direct Line's research reveals that more than 20 per cent of parents believe a child seat does not need to be replaced after a low speed collision. In response, the insurer reminds parents that a crash can seriously undermine the structural integrity of a child seat.

Maggie Game, head of car insurance at Direct Line, warned: "What might seem like a minor accident can undermine your child's safety if you are involved in a subsequent collision. Even minor accidents can weaken restraints which are critical to protecting your child in an emergency."

She advises drivers to contact their car insurance provider following an accident in order to check if they will pay for a replacement even though there may not be any apparent damage. Many insurers such as Direct Line include a replacement child seat as a standard feature in their car insurance cover.

© Fair Investment Company Ltd