Over half of child car seats (56%) are incorrectly fitted, according to the Road Safety Authority’s ‘Check it Fits’ service.
It also found that 30 per cent of these needed a major adjustment to fix them, while 67 per cent required minor adjustments, for example, the fitting being loose or a twisted seatbelt.
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.
It says this 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.
The RSA says people should look out for its Code of Practice stickers in retailer outlets or check the list of participating retailers on its website.
Sam Waide, CEO of the RSA, 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.
He added: “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.”
The RSA’s face-to-face child car seat checking service – Check it Fits – will be back on the road from March visiting locations around the country after a two-year absence due to the pandemic.