Car seat council survey highlights child safety risk

A shock Aberdeenshire Council survey has found that hundreds of incorrectly-fitted car seats are putting children’s safety at risk.

The local authority carried out checks at a series of clinics last year and established that the majority of youngsters’ seats were not fitted properly and some had major faults.

As a result of the findings, the council is setting up in-service training sessions to raise awareness of the importance of fitting children’s seats correctly.

The road safety report covered 14 clinics which were held from June to September at locations such as supermarkets and leisure centres in each of the council’s six areas.

People who parked in the parent and toddler spaces at the arranged locations were offered car seat checks and advice free of charge.

It was part of the Good Egg Safety campaign which provides information and advice on in-car child safety.

Out of 244 seats that were checked, 78% were incorrectly fitted and 40 of the seats had major faults.

A total of 62 car seats were found to be fitted correctly fitted and 136 parents were given further advice.

All of the car seats checked in Turriff were fitted incorrectly in contrast to 50% in Peterhead, which had the lowest figure for incorrectly-fitted seats.

Checks in Ellon were carried out at the Tesco car park and were organised by the Formartine Safety Group with the support of Aberdeenshire Council Transport Safety Unit.

Formartine Community Group chairperson, Moira Muir, said: “It was very successful and one which would be good to repeat especially due to the alarming number of car seats which were not fitted correctly.”

Ellon and District Councillor Rob Merson said the findings were concerning.

He added: “It is an alarming thought that of the 26 child seats which were checked in Ellon, 19 of them were incorrectly fitted.

“That is typical of other inspections which have been carried out across the area, and serves to highlight the value of the exercise.”

Chairman of the council’s infrastructure services committee, Councillor Peter Argyle, said: “Car seat clinics give local parents a valuable opportunity to have their car seats checked.

“Incompatible seats, loose belts or harnesses, or incorrect routings are common faults which can increase the risk of severe injury or sometimes be fatal.”

The council is now setting up in-service training sessions for nursery nurses, health visitors and midwives to raise awareness of the importance of fitting children’s car seats correctly.