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Thousands of parents risk £500 fine by breaking car seat rules

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Thousands of parents are risking a £500 fine by driving with their children in appropriate car seats, according to research.

The study found 13% of parents drive without their children being strapped in on short journeys or when they’re running late.

By law, children must normally use a child car seat until they’re 12 years old or 135cm tall, whichever comes first.

The penalty for driving a child without having a seatbelt or child seat in place is a maximum of £500.

The findings from Co-op Insurance found children aged between two and eight are most likely to have been driven unrestrained.

Parents of children aged five are more likely than any other group to have not belted their children in.

More parents in London – 22% – admit to driving their children without the correct restraints in place than any other region.

Parents in Scotland are most safety conscious with just 6% admitting to not strapping their children in when they’re running late or making a short journey.

Nick Ansley, head of motor insurance at Co-op, said: “Thousands of children, maybe more, are being driven round without being correctly fastened into their seats.

“Child car seats and seat belts are there to keep people as safe as possible. If the worst was to happen and a vehicle was involved in a collision with children not belted in, then the consequences are likely to be much more serious than if a child was strapped in.

“While there is no doubt that parents are simply trying to buy some time in their already manic schedules by sometimes not belting children in properly on short journeys, we are urging parents to ‘buy back’ some of their time at another point in the day – when the stakes aren’t too high.”

What are the car seat laws?

  • Children must normally use a child car seat until they’re 12 years old or 135cm tall, whichever comes first.
  • Children aged three or over can travel in a back seat without a child car seat and without a seat belt if the vehicle doesn’t have one, for example in a mini cab.
  • Children over 12 or more than 135cm tall must wear a seat belt.
  • You can choose a child car seat based on your child’s height or weight.
  • If you choose a height-based seat, known as an ‘i-Size’ seat, your child must be rear-facing until they’re over 15 months old.

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