Kids under 12 must buckle up

Having a child passenger restrained while driving is absolutely essential to ensure proper safety.

Older children who have outgrown their child restraint seats, but who are still too small for adult-sized seatbelts in vehicles, still need to be properly secured while travelling, although recent research suggests this isn’t happening.

Findings from the Automobile Association’s (AA) Child Safety Seat Survey – conducted last year – also highlight that a quarter of motorists admit to not restraining children under 12 years of age at all while driving.

“Having a child passenger – whether it is in the front passenger seat or back seats – restrained while driving is absolutely essential to ensure proper safety,” notes the AA.

“Study after study has shown that children who aren’t properly restrained, and who are involved in crashes – even at slower speeds – have more chance of being seriously injured or, worse, killed, than those who are.”

The AA says many parents or guardians do not restrain children when they are too big for baby car seats, and too small for adult-sized seatbelts.

It says it is important to note that while current legislation is designed around the age of children who need to use child restraints, a better approach is to match the child’s size and weight with the appropriate seats.

The AA says there are five important rules when driving with children: set an example by always using your own seatbelt; choose the right car seat for your baby or young child; properly attach the child seat to the car; fasten your child in the child seat correctly and adjust the harnesses as the child grows; and adapt the harness for summer and winter clothing as there may be a difference.

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