Car seat safety is such an important part of being a parent and in order to travel safely (and legally) in a car with our children, we should have a car seat.
The current law states that all children travelling in a car must use the correct car seat appropriate to their weight or height, until they are either 135cm in height or 12 years in age, whichever they reach first.
After this point, they must use an adult seat belt (the only exception being when travelling in a licensed taxi or minicab).
One day you may find yourself in a situation where you're pulled over by the police to check you're travelling safely with your children. These are usually free car seat checking clinics and it's worth knowing what to expect in this situation.
Where do child car seat safety checks happen?
Often set up near car parks of supermarkets or retail parks, experts like Child Seat Safety work in conjunction with the local authority and police to check as many car seats as they can.
With over 40 years experience of working in the field of road safety education, the founders of Child Seat Safety - Julie Dagnall and Claire Waterhouse - regularly travel up and down the country conducting free car seat checking clinics.
MadeForMums was invited to spend a day with Child Seat Safety to find out exactly how a car seat clinic session works.
What happens during a baby car seat checking service?
1 - First thing you’ll notice with a Child Seat Safety checking service is that they work with the local police. So don’t panic or be scared if you’re pulled over by the constabulary and asked if they can look into your car.
2 – All car seat inspectors will have proof of identification and certification. Please feel free to ask to see ID if it hasn’t been presented to you initially.
3 - Car seat checks can take between 10 and 20 minutes depending on how many car seats you have in your car and how they are fitted.
4 – They may ask your child to get measured. We touched on it earlier, but height is very important when it comes to choosing the most suitable car seat for kids. That’s because legally in the UK all children under 135cm tall have to sit in a car seat.
5 – The only personal information the folks at Child Seat Safety will ask for is the first part of your post code. They will make note of the type of car seat you do or don’t have, if it was fitted correctly and height/weight of your child in the seat.
6 – If you don’t have a legal car seat the inspectors at the session can’t allow you to drive away. You will have to buy one that fits your child, which is why these are held in superstore car parks.
7 - It’s also a learning session for parents, so make sure you learn how to the check if the car seat is all correct. Ask all the questions you want and even take part in practising or participating in the checks. The aim is that when you leave the session you feel confident and comfortable that your child’s car seat is fitted correctly.
8 – Anyone can use the Child Seat Safety checking session, you don’t have to be invited or make an appointment, just drop in if you want. You can check where the next sessions will be by clicking here.