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Over half of child car seats incorrectly fitted according to Road Safety Authority

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• New Code of Practice for Child Car Seat Retailers launched to assist retailers and consumers
• Almost a third of seats fitted incorrectly needed major adjustments *
• If a child’s car seat isn’t fitted correctly, it could lead to a serious or fatal injury in the event of a collision

Thursday 24 February: Over half of child car seats (56%) checked by the Road Safety Authority’s Check it Fits service were incorrectly fitted and needed some type of adjustment to make them a safe fit. If a child’s car seat isn’t fitted correctly, it could lead to a serious or fatal injury in the event of a collision.

In order to increase awareness of car seat safety and reduce misuse rates, the RSA has launched a new voluntary Code of Practice for Child Car Seat retailers. The new Code of Practice will ensure that best practice is achieved when parents or guardians are buying a child restraint system. This in turn means that when buying a new child car seat, families can be confident that they are getting the best advice and guidance on the most suitable car seat for their child and car.

To date, 15 child car seat retailers have committed to the new Code of Practice, covering 40 stores nationwide. Three child car seat manufacturers are signed up, with interest from another three. People should look out for the RSA’s Code of Practice stickers in retailer outlets or you can check the list of participating retailers on rsa.ie.

Ms Aisling Sloyan, Senior Road Safety Promotion Officer and Child Car Seat Expert with the RSA, said: While the RSA’s experience with its Check it Fits service shows that half of child car seats are fitted incorrectly, worryingly, it found that 30% of these needed a major adjustment to fix them. For example, the seat being excessively loose so as to make the fitting almost ineffective. 67% were minor adjustments, for example, the fitting being loose or a twisted seatbelt. This new Code of Practice will help the public feel confident that they are getting the correct information they need from retailers when buying a child car seat. This includes help on deciding the correct seat for their child’s weight, height, and age. All child car seat retailers and manufacturers are welcome to participate in this Code.”

Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Ms. Hildegarde Naughton, said: “If a child’s car seat isn’t fitted correctly, it could lead to a serious injury in the event of a collision or worse. I am delighted that this new Code of Practice has been launched and I want to applaud the manufacturers and retailers of child car seats that have adopted this new Code of Practice. It is through practical measures like this, where we all work together, and achieve our core target of the new Road Safety Strategy, which is to reduce road deaths and serious injuries by 50% by 2030.”

Mr Sam Waide, CEO of the Road Safety Authority, said: “The point of sale, where child car seats are bought and sold, is critical to driving down misuse rates of child car seats. I would like to thank all the retailers who already go above and beyond when providing customer care and after sales support. I would appeal to retailers who haven’t signed up to the new Code of Practice to please do so. A measure like this is a win / win for everyone.

Parents get the reassurance that what they are buying will keep their child safe and for the retailer it’s a unique selling point for your business. Most importantly of all its going to save lives and prevent injuries on our journey to Vision Zero where we eliminate all deaths and injuries by 2050.”

Chief Superintendent, Michael Hennebry, An Garda Síochána, said: “The importance of proper fitting of a child car seat cannot be underestimated when it comes to protecting the safety of our younger passengers when travelling in cars. It is equally important to know how to properly adjust car child seats as a child grows. When carrying children in a vehicle, drivers must ensure that they use the correct type of child restraint for the height and weight of the child passengers. This initiative will help ensure that best practice is followed when buying a child restraint system”.

Manufacturers who are signed up to the Code of Practice are committed to offering training and education to their retailers about their products. This in turn will ensure that retailers understand the features of child car seats and are properly trained to advise consumers on its suitability for the child and car in question. The Code acts as peace of mind to consumers that retailers signed up to it are able to provide expert advice and training on how a child car seat should be safely installed into the car.

To find out what retailers are signed up to the Code of Practice, visit RSA.ie or keep an eye out for the Code of Practice sticker in retail stores.

The RSA are also delighted to announce that their face-to-face child car seat checking service – Check it Fits – will be back on the road visiting locations around the country after a two-year absence due to the Covid 19 pandemic. The service will return in March and people are advised to check the RSA website for updates and details on locations that we will be visiting.

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