Officers from South Gloucestershire Council’s road safety team and Avon and Somerset Police will be carrying out child car seat safety checks at Thornbury Fire Station on Tuesday 18 July.
Between 8.30am and 4pm, police officers will be stopping vehicles carrying young people to allow representatives from the road safety team, in partnership with Child Seat Safety, to check child car seats and ensure that young people are safe and secure when travelling by car. Previous safety checks carried out across the West of England have shown that over half of all child car seats are fitted incorrectly.
A total of 153 seats were checked at a similar multi-agency event held in Kingswood in June. 61 seats (including booster cushions) were found to be correct, 25 seats had major faults and 52 seats had minor faults. In addition, advice was given to four people about an appropriate restraint system for children and 9 children were found to have no seats or any type of restraint and were under the legal limit of 135cm.
Cllr Heather Goddard, Cabinet Member for Community Services and Tourism, said: “Every car seat safety check day we carry out confirms how necessary these events are, as large numbers of drivers we talk to are unsure of the correct fitting for their seat. They often have lots of questions to ask our experts, particularly about booster seats at the moment, and are always very appreciative of the help and advice given.
“Many of the major faults found were due to seats belts requiring re-routing. This means that the seat has been fitted wrongly and the manufacturer’s instructions have not been followed. Minor faults included internal harnesses that were very loose requiring adjustment. In the event of a collision a loose harness could cause a child to be ejected from their child seat, so whilst it is classed as a minor fault this could be fatal in the event of a collision. Other minor adjustments include removal of headrests, these sometimes tend to get in the way of car seats being securely fitted into a vehicle, and twists in seatbelts, which can mean they are less effective in a collision.”
If any drivers would like to have their car seat checked voluntarily, they are welcome to stop by Thornbury Fire Station on Gloucester Road, Thornbury between 8.30am and 4pm on Tuesday 18 July. Parents, grandparents, childminders or carers are also invited to drop in, as road safety officers will be available to give free advice and literature on child restraints and the law.
The council’s road safety team will be holding similar events around South Gloucestershire in August and September.