Most everyone who provides transportation for children knows that kids need to be properly restrained in a car in order to travel safely and also to be in compliance with the law.
Laws change so it is a good idea for grandparents to be certain that they are familiar with current guidelines for the safe transportation of children before taking their grandkids for rides in their cars.
Child Restraint Laws in the UK
As of September 18, 2006, the following laws apply to the transportation of children by automobile:
Newborn-3 Years Old:
- A correct child restraint must be used in both the front seat and back seat of a vehicle for children up to three years old.
- Rear facing child restraints must not be used in the front seat of a vehicle with an active front airbag.
- A child may ride unrestrained if no child restraint is available in a licensed taxi or hire car.
3-12 Years Old:
- Children aged from three up to 12 years old or 1.35m must have a booster seat and an adult seat belt to restrain them whilst travelling.
- There are three exceptions to this law:
- Travelling in a licensed hire car or taxi
- A child needs to be transported a short distance, unexpectedly
- Two child restraints are already being used in the back seat, not allowing for the use of a third.
12-13 Year old or Children Over 1.35m in height:
- If available, adult seat belts must be worn while riding in either the front or the back seat of a vehicle.
Beyond the Law
Although the law allows for a few exceptions, permitting children to occasionally ride unrestrained in motor vehicles, virtually all safety experts would agree that children should always be transported in appropriate baby car seats, booster seats, or with the use of properly fitted seat belts.
Accidents can happen at any time, even when traveling only short distances, and statistics support the effectiveness of child safety restraints in protecting children from injury and death.
Safe Car Seats
Grandparents who frequently transport their grandchild may wish to purchase a car seat to avoid the inconvenience of transferring one back and forth between their vehicles and those belonging to the children’s parents.
While most of children’s playthings and equipment would be perfectly fine purchased used, car seats may be an exception.
Manufacturers are constantly tightening their safety standards in hopes of providing the safest possible child restraint systems, so a car seat from several years ago may not meet the requirements of today’s higher standards.
Car seats are reasonable priced and widely available at many retailers, both online and in brick and mortar stores, making them easy to acquire. Many models offer additional features, such as drink and snack holders, but the only real necessity is a glowing safety rating.
When choosing to use an older car seat rather than purchasing a new one, care must be taken to assure that it meets current safety requirements. An internet search, which takes just a few minutes, can help to determine whether or not the product has been part of a safety recall.
This is vital since many older car seats are no longer considered to be road worthy.
Once safety issues have been handled and grandparents have taken steps to assure the safe transportation of their grandchildren, the two generations are ready to embark on many fun adventures, from simple shopping excursions to holiday trips.