Orkney Islands Council
Working together for a better Orkney
Catherine Edwards and her two children, Joshua and Eleanor, who use rear facing car seats.
Is your car seat fitted properly?
20 January 2012

Orkney Islands Council is urging parents to carry out checks on their child’s car seat after a study found the majority of seats were incorrectly fitted.

The recently released statistics from last year’s survey show that out of the 45 seats checked in Orkney, just 29% were correctly fitted.

The study was part of the Scottish ‘Good Egg In-Car Child Safety Campaign’, which raises awareness about the dangers to children of inappropriate or incorrectly fitted child car seats.

Just under 2000 car seats were checked across Scotland, with just over half (51%) of these found to be correctly fitted.   This year’s checks also found a growing number of car seats purchased on-line where, in some cases, parents are provided with very little instruction on how to fit the seat.

If sitting in the right type of seat and correctly restrained, a child is 90% less likely to be killed in a collision.  However an unrestrained child can be killed or seriously injured in an impact at speeds as low as 5mph.

Catherine Edwards, a mother of two from Kirkwall, has rear facing car seats which have been found to reduce the risk of serious death or injury by up to 90%.  She said: “Like most parents, I have done a huge amount of research into the correct car seat. Whilst researching I discovered that rear facing child seats are five times safer in a collision than forward facing and it’s suggested that children should remain rear facing until four years old, or even longer.

“I went along to the recent checks and was very relieved to have them check our seats and pleased to have the peace of mind that we had them installed correctly. One of the women who did the check was very excited to see our seats as she will only put her young grandchildren in rear facing seats. If it's good enough for the experts then it's good enough for me!”

Councillor Andrew Drever, Chair of the Orkney Road Safety Forum, said: “The statistics are extremely worrying because they show that many of the car seats being used by parents are not as safe as one would hope.

“We would urge parents to purchase their seat from a reputable seller and carry out a few simple checks which could save their child from very serious injury.”

Parents can pick up a copy of the ‘Good Egg Guide to In-Car Child Safety’ from the Council by contacting Yvonne Scott at Yvonne.scott@orkney.gov.uk.  It provides information on how to fit a child seat, choosing the right seat, the law and parents’ responsibilities.

A list of certified ‘Good Egg’ retailers, where trained staff are able to provide advice on car seats and help with fitting them is available at www.protectchild.co.uk.