A shocking 34 per cent of 8 to 11-year olds in the UK are not using a booster seat on car journeys when one is required, according to a new report by Good Egg Safety.
Current UK law requires all children under 12 or less than 135cm in height to use a booster seat.
Using a booster seat provides older children with crucial protection. Parents have been advised to invest in a high-back booster seat for extra protection for older children, rather than a booster cushion.
Sarah-Jane Martin, spokesperson for Brake, the road safety charity said: "These figures are very worrying and show that we're not taking child car seat safety seriously enough. It's vital that all parents understand that it's not just toddlers who need protecting. We're supporting Good Egg Safety with this important awareness raising campaign and ask all parents to ensure that their child has the appropriate safety seat fitted."
Honor Byford, Chair of Road Safety GB, the charity that supports road safety professionals, said: "We know that every parent's strongest instinct is to protect their children. The legislation on booster seats changed to ensure that booster seats provide the level of protection that children's smaller bodies need in the event of a crash. This keeps them on a booster seat for longer than used to be the case. We urge parents to check out the legal requirements and keep their children on the right booster seat for as long as their child needs that extra protection – which is until they are tall enough for an adult seatbelt to fit their body.
Good Egg provides excellent, clear information and advice to help parents, grandparents and carers to provide the best protection for their children when they are travelling by car.
Your local road safety team will also be pleased to help and advise you on this or any road safety matter. You can find their contact details through the Road Safety GB website"
Kat Furlong Good Egg Safety Manager and Training Expert added: "A high-back booster is far more preferable to a booster cushion, to provide children with adequate head, neck and torso protection from side impacts, which booster cushions do not offer. We implore parents to buy these instead and ensure they are the right seat for their child and car"
The Good Egg Safety checks also showed that a high number of booster seats – both high-back models and cushions – were being used unsafely. In many instances, the seat belt was not routed properly around the child and seat, which would drastically reduce the seat's effectiveness in a collision.
Mark Bennett, Senior Technical and Training Manager Europe, Britax said
"It's imperative that older children do use the correct restraint system when travelling in a car until they no longer need so – when they're 135cm tall or 12 years old whichever comes sooner. High-back booster seats will not only guide and control the position of the adult seat belt correctly over the child's pelvis and shoulder but it will also give the much needed side and head protection in a road accident. As Britax we will continue campaigning on the safety benefits of high-back boosters and help save lives."
The National Police Chiefs' Council lead for roads policing Chief Constable Suzette Davenport said;
"The use of seatbelts and booster seats is an essential, effective method of reducing child fatalities and serious injuries in motor vehicle collisions. That's why their correct use is not a matter of choice, it is the law."
"I have no doubt that correctly used seat restraints for children have helped protect the most vulnerable from needless death and serious injury. So don't take any chances. "
For more information on booster seats, visit www.goodeggcarsafety.com/blog/goodmorningbritain