Video: Incorrectly fitted child car seats a major cause for concern in Longford

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Research from the Road Safety Authority’s ‘Check it Fits’ Service, which checks child car seats and restraints nationwide for free, has revealed that 4 out of 5 child car seats are incorrectly fitted nationwide. On the service’s most recent visit to Longford 2016, 52 seats were checked.

The RSA’s Check it Fits Service is visiting Longford on Wednesday, February 8 and will be at SuperValu, Hazelwood Shopping Centre from 10am to 5.30pm.

Since October 2013, the RSA’s ‘Check it Fits’ Service has checked over 21,000 child car seats and restraints in Ireland. Worryingly, 79% of seats required a major adjustment, of which 3% were deemed not fit for purpose and condemned, meaning they could have caused injury or even death in the event of a collision.

To help address this problem, the RSA ‘Check it Fits’ service will be visiting SuperValu in Longford, where child car seat installation experts will be available to ensure car seats and restraints are correctly fitted.

The service takes between 10-15 minutes, is free of charge and offers parents and guardians reassurance that their child is safe while travelling in the car.

If your child’s car seat or restraint is incorrectly fitted, the ‘Check it Fits’ experts will advise on how to fix the problem, demonstrate how to fit the restraint correctly and answer any queries participants might have to avoid potential serious or fatal injury in the event of a collision.

Aisling Leonard, Senior Road Safety Promotion Officer for the RSA commented: “Almost 2 out of 5 children killed are passengers and Garda reports into collisions indicate that 1 in 10 children were not wearing a seatbelt or using a child restraint in 2014. More recent statistics have shown an increase in child passenger fatalities on the road.

"The reality is that if a child’s car seat isn’t fitted correctly, it could lead to a serious or fatal injury in the event of a collision. Having a correctly fitted car seat is a simple measure parents, grandparents and guardians can take to ensure children are safe while travelling by car. I would encourage people to visit the ‘Check it Fits’ when it comes to Longford and give yourself the peace of mind that your children are travelling safely.”

Moyagh Murdock, CEO of the RSA, while speaking about the service said: “The RSA ‘Check it Fits’ service is there to provide professional, trustworthy advice to parents and guardians around child car seat safety. Parents all over the country are availing of this service to get practical advice and expert fitting of their car seats. We would advise all parents to ensure that when they buy a new car seat, that they get the seat fitted by an expert.

"We would also advise that parents to check the label on their car seat to make sure it’s appropriate for your child’s age, weight and height, to make sure your seat is firmly installed in the car, and to always ensure that your child’s harness is fitted snugly for every trip. Coming into the summer months you may need to tighten the harness as your children are wearing lighter clothes.”

For more information on Check it Fits and for an up-to-date schedule of upcoming road shows, visit http://www.rsa.ie/checkitfits

Top Tips for Parents

·         It is now EU law that all children must travel in a child seat, booster seat or booster cushion.
The golden rule for choosing a child car seat is making sure it is suitable for your child’s weight, height and age and that it conforms to the latest EU safety regulations (look for the 'E' mark).

·         Do not use age exclusively as a guide while picking a car seat, as every child is different.

·         When buying a child car seat, make sure you go to a retailer who can show you how to fit it in your car. If the child car seat will be used in more than one car, make sure it’s compatible with additional cars as well.

·         Avoid using a second-hand child car seat or restraint unless you know its history. It may have been damaged in a previous collision, and although the damage may not be visible, it won’t provide the same level of protection for your child.

·         Don’t move your child from a rearward-facing child car seat to a forward-facing child car seat too soon. If you’re unsure, always consult with your retailer before you buy your next child car seat.