MORE than half of new parents have never been shown how to correctly choose or install a child’s car seat, according to new research.
The study, conducted by Mamas & Papas and Alfa Romeo for the Safer Seat campaign, also found one in 10 parents choose car seats based on price alone, rather than the correct fit or function for their specific vehicle.
Some 61% of parents did not know that different car seats are suitable for different types of vehicle – installing a car seat that is wrong for the vehicle can severely compromise its safety. A third of survey respondents also did not know that the safest direction for a baby up to at least 13kgs is to face rearwards in the car seat.
Despite 80% of new parents admitting to a post-natal change in driving habits, the survey results indicate a worrying over-reliance on advice from friends and family, rather than a consultation of proper guidance on safely transporting children.
The result is that a large proportion of child seats are being incorrectly installed, or installed in vehicles incompatible with the model of car seat, reducing the protection the seats offer for their child passengers.
To combat the problem, Mamas & Papas has produced the Safer Seat initiative, supported by Which? in partnership with Alfa Romeo, which is launching a series of roadshows during National Road Safety Week (November 19-25).
Safer Seat provides information including a step-by-step checklist to help parents find the best car seat for their child and specific car, with advice on correct installation. The guide is available through Mamas & Papas stores, online, via Which? and Alfa Romeo dealerships.
Alfa Romeo’s model range is officially recognised for its high safety credentials. The stylish 5-door Alfa Giulietta is one of the safest vehicles in the small family car class, with a five-star Euro NCAP rating.
Mamas & Papas is also providing consultations and seat fitting advice by trained specialists across its 60 stores nationwide.
The detailed guide provides parents with all they need to know when it comes to selecting and fitting their child’s car seat, including restraints, impact shields and how to adjust the car seat as their child grows.
Vicky Butler-Henderson, TV presenter and supporter of the Safer Seat campaign, said: “Worryingly, according to some statistics, more than 70% of child car seats are fitted incorrectly. Safer Seat is a good way of helping parents to keep their children safe in cars. I am proud to be supporting this campaign.”
The roadshow kicks off in London before visiting Birmingham (Saturday November 17, Birmingham Gallagher), Nottingham (Sunday November 18, Giltbrook Retail Park), Manchester (Saturday November 24, Manchester Fort Retail Park), and Edinburgh (Sunday November 25, Edinburgh Fort Retail Park).
Mamas & Papas’ expert advisors will be on hand to go through Safer Seat with customers and they can drive their cars into a covered fitting area to try a selection of car seats.
Safer Seat information will also be available in Alfa Romeo showrooms. For more information on the campaign, please visit www.mamasandpapas.com