Child car seat safety checks

Officers from North Somerset Council’s road safety team and Avon and Somerset Police joined forces to carry out child car seat safety checks in Weston-super-Mare.

Vehicles carrying children were stopped to allow child car seats to be checked and fitted correctly. Young people travelling as passengers were measured to ensure they were the correct height to safely use a seatbelt.

Of the seats checked on the day 117 were fitted correctly and 83 were fitted incorrectly. Previous child car seat checks carried out across the West of England have shown that over half of all seats are fitted incorrectly.

Nine children were found to have no seats and were therefore not restrained in the vehicle. Drivers had to resolve the situation before children were able to continue travelling or take the fixed penalty notice of £100 per child. The legal requirement is that children should be over 135cms tall or 12 years old to wear an adult seatbelt.

Officers also provided drivers with information about proposed changes to the child car seat regulations, which are likely to come into force in December and will only affect new car seats. This means parents buying backless booster seats next year will only be able to buy them for children above 125cms in height and 22kgs in weight.

Cllr Elfan Ap Rees, North Somerset Council’s deputy leader and executive member with responsibility for transport, said: “The number of incorrectly fitted seats found by our officers shows the importance of carrying out these checks.

“A number of drivers were unsure about correctly fitting their seats and had lots of questions for the experts. Many of the faults found were due to seatbelts being re-routed incorrectly and the manufacturer’s instructions not being properly followed, and our road safety team was on hand to make sure young passengers travelled safely.”

The council’s road safety team is planning to hold another day of action in Portishead in mid-September. For more information about choosing, buying and fitting a car seat visit