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Childalert urge parents to check their child's car seat every trip

Check your seat regularly for wear and tear. In the event of an accident, replace your car seat, as damage may not be visible.

The fitting of the car seat is very important. Not all seats fit all cars and you should take advice on which seat fits your car best. Even if you have to pay a little more, buy your seat from somewhere which offers good advice. Make sure you read and understand the instructions. Keep them safe. If in doubt phone the helpline. Take particular care if you want to use a travel system. Don't compromise on the car seat.

Your baby should travel home from hospital in a proper car restraint and it should be one that is designed specifically for babies. It will be fitted in the car so that baby faces backwards which is the safest position to travel in. Rear-facing seats may only be used in the front if there is no passenger air bag. In an accident, they are likely to be safer in the back but if you are travelling alone with baby you may find you are both safer if you can see your baby. Maternal instincts will overcome your common sense when driving!. Their seat must be held in place by an adult seatbelt and the base of the carrier should be in contact with the seat at all points to give good stability. Infant carriers have a three-point harness. Make sure that the straps are not twisted and that they are properly adjusted to allow for the baby's clothing. Remember too, that if left in the sun, a seat's metal parts could burn your child.

Switch to a child car seat when your baby reaches about 10kg (22lb) in weight, usually between 8 and 9 months, although some seats are designed for babies up to 13kg (around 13 months). Do not be in a hurry to move your child from a rear facing seat, even if he is too heavy to carry.. Always choose a car seat that is suitable for the age of the child, and one that sits easily in the car different styles fit better in different cars and again, the right fit is of vital importance.

Check your seat regularly for wear and tear. In the event of an accident, replace your car seat, as damage may not be visible. Similarly, beware of second hand car seats . They may not provide adequate protection if they have suffered damaged and this may not be obvious, even to the experts!

Children should be restrained for every journey, however short. If no child seat is available, children from the age of 5 can use an adult seat belt, ideally with a booster cushion.

The Law about Seatbelts

  • It is against the law for anyone to sit in the front seat without a suitable restraint.
  • If suitable restraints are fitted in the rear they must be used.
  • Child restraints should be appropriate and approved.

Once the child has progressed from a car seat or booster seat, a seat best adjuster will help to position the seat belt on the shoulder away from face and neck.

Always make sure that other passengers and heavy luggage are strapped in. In a crash, an unrestrained heavy passenger or heavy package could be thrown on top of your child and severely injure them, even if they are properly restrained.

Use a Baby View Mirror which attaches to the ordinary rear-view mirror and reflects your child in the back seat without your having to turn around.

Sun shades offer very useful protection to your baby from the strong sun.

It is absolutely vital that anyone who drives with young children should ensure they are protected in a properly fitted car seat.

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