Police issue warning over child car seat safety

Safety Manager Kat Furlong with five-month-old Olivia Milla. Picture: Scott Taylor
Safety Manager Kat Furlong with five-month-old Olivia Milla. Picture: Scott Taylor
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Parents of young children have been warned to take extra care with car seats – after police spot-checks revealed a “worrying” trend.

Officers joined staff from child car safety expert Good Egg to carry out a series of checks in the Capital yesterday.

Car seats are designed to keep children safe, but they can only do so when installed correctly

PC Declan Fitzpatrick

The teams stopped vehicles on the school run in the Clermiston area before heading to Ocean Terminal and the Gyle shopping centres.

They stopped 24 drivers, all of whom had children in car seats, but only one was fitted correctly.

According to Good Egg, there are a variety of pitfalls when it comes to using child car seats.

Drivers are advised to check harness heights and to make sure that no part of the plastic seatbelt buckle casing is on or over the plastic frame of the seat. The latter is called buckle crunch, and means that it is an unsafe fit.

Parents should also remove bulky clothes – such as thick jackets – from children as these can be restrictive.

It is also advised that people check seatbelts and harnesses to ensure they are not twisted.

Six were taken out of the cars to be adjusted and refitted yesterday, while the remainder needed minor adjustments.

In addition, 14 motorists were given warnings because seatbelts were not being used properly.

Of these, 11 related to children who were travelling in the cars.

Pc Declan Fitzpatrick, of the Edinburgh Road Policing Unit, said: “It’s worrying that only one car seat we checked was fitted properly.

“I would urge parents to check the Good Egg website, read the manufacturer’s instructions and speak with your car dealer. Car seats are designed to keep your children safe, but they can only do so when they are installed correctly.”

Yesterday’s checks formed part of the ongoing Police Scotland Vulnerable Road Users campaign, which highlights the risks faced by people of all ages.

The initiative – supported by a range of groups, including Road Safety Scotland, the Scottish Ambulance Service, the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, Age Scotland and Brake – has a particular focus on children, the elderly and cyclists.

Chief Superintendent Iain Murray, head of road policing at Police Scotland, said: “The roads of Scotland are used in a myriad of ways by differing groups of people, and each has its own needs, risks and vulnerabilities.

“We all share the same roads, and it is therefore vitally important we all further develop our understanding of what these risks and vulnerabilities are if we are to maintain respect for each other, and to use the roads safely.”

kaye.nicolson@edinburghnews.com