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COUNCILS ENSURE CHILD SAFETY AS NEW CAR SEAT LEGISLATION APPROACHES

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Council officers across England will be out in force over the next week warning parents to familiarise themselves w...
Council officers across England will be out in force over the next week warning parents to familiarise themselves with new child car seat laws or face fines of up to£500.

Road safety units, trading standards officers and the fire and rescue services will be providing on-the-spot checks of car seats and boosters within schools, supermarkets and car parks and will be on hand to explain the new guidelines in detail.

From 18 September, motorists must ensure every child travelling in a car, where seatbelts are fitted, uses a baby seat, child seat, booster seat or booster cushion until they reach 1.35m tall or 12 years of age. The Department for Transport estimates that the new rules could prevent up to 2,000 child casualties each year.

Les Lawrence, chair of the Local Government Association's Children and Young People Board said:

'With seven out of ten car seats fitted inappropriately and 100,000 children involved in car crashes each year, it is essential that children are given as much safety as possible. Councils will be doing all they can to ensure that motorists realise what is expected of them and will hammer home the implications if they fail to comply.

'I urge everyone to take advantage of these free events and ensure safety for the whole family. The last thing we want is parents facing fines of£500.'

Examples of how councils are targeting motorists include:

- Gloucestershire CC has already highlighted the change in law to over 700 schools and is targeting the county's 1,200 childminders and parents of 6,500 primary school starters through newsletters. Every fire station has a fully-trained officer on hand to provide advice to motorists.

- Hertfordshire CC has distributed 20,000 bookmarks to schools and libraries and bus backs will be advertising the law change for a month throughout the county. Checking points have already been open at the local Toys R Us and Asda Supermarket with the council planning to work with the Hertfordshire Constabulary in a further nine locations to ensure compliance.

- Buckinghamshire CC has been promoting the new child seat law at various shows across the county throughout the summer and sending out leaflets to various relevant establishments. The Road Safety Team is working in partnership with GMTV, Thames Valley Police, Total garages and the Baby Products Association to carry out checks.

- Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead are holding two checking days where road safety and trading standards officers together with an independent expert will be on hand at a Tesco Supermarket and leisure centre car park to give advice.

- Rotherham Metropolitan BC is working in conjunction with South Yorkshire Police to provide two checking days at a Mothercare Store and Morrisons Supermarket.

- Peterborough City Council has been publicising the new rules at various events throughout the dummer.

NOTES

Failure to comply with the new legislation will be liable to a£30 fixed penalty. If the case goes to court, the maximum fine is£500 and three points on a driving licence.

DfT COUNTDOWN TO NEW CHILD CAR SEAT LAWS

Full details of the legislation and statistics can be found here.

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