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Sunday, June 6, 1999 Published at 16:51 GMT 17:51 UK


Safety seat ignorance 'risks lives'

Child seats save thousands of lives each year

Thousands of children are being put at risk because their parents do not know how to fit safety seats in their cars properly a report says.

The BBC's Nicola Carslaw: A collision at just 5mph can kill an unrestrained child
A survey by Mother and Baby magazine has shown that 60% of child car seats checked are not fitted correctly.

A crash at speeds as low as 5mph can be fatal to children not strapped in properly, safety experts warn.

But nine out of 10 parents surveyed said they had difficulty in fitting the seats.

Airbag danger

One in five said they let their children sit unrestrained in the car.

The report also said that many parents were unaware of the dangers of fitting a rear-facing child seat in the front of a car with airbags.

The magazine has launched a campaign to highlight the dangers of leaving children unrestrained in cars.

Figures from the Department of Transport show that 74 child passengers in cars were killed in 1997, with 1,271 seriously injured and 15,938 suffering other injuries.

Campaign director Stephanie Neuman said: "A badly-fittted car seat is as useless as no car seat at all."

Safety roadshows

A series of roadshows will be put on at Safeway supermarkets around the country to provide free car seat checks to parents.

Ms Neuman said: "The roadshows will give parents the chance to have their child's car seat checked by experts.

"Ultimately, we want the shops which sell car seats to show parents how to fit them safely and correctly.

"We also urge parents to spend more time reading manufacturers instructions."

She said the average child travels 4000 miles a year by car.

Ms Neuman added: "It is is every parent's duty and every child's right to make sure they are safely strapped in."

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