DRIVERS in North Yorkshire are being urged to make sure they're ready for a change in the law next week on the safety of children in cars.
Parents urged to prepare for new law
County Council road safety officers say they are extremely concerned about the lack of awareness of the new child car seat laws which come into force on Monday (September 18).
The new legislation governing the use of child car seats states that in vehicles where seat belts are fitted, children over three and under twelve years of age, and under 135cms in height (approximately 4ft 5ins), must use an appropriate child restraint.
North Yorkshire road safety officers are distributing a height chart clearly marking the 135cms level to every school in the county so anyone who is in any doubt as to whether their child should be using a child car seat can check quickly and easily.
North Yorkshire County Councillor Peter Sowray, Executive Member responsible for roads and traffic, says: "We would all like to hope we are never involved in a car accident but collisions happen every day and drivers should ensure they comply with the new law and make sure children are correctly restrained.
"If a car is travelling at just 30mph and comes to an abrupt halt the occupants weigh between 30 and 60 times their own weight. This means a small child weighing around two stone would weigh between 60 and 120 stones. The impact therefore, if they are not correctly restrained, is devastating.
If the car is involved in an accident and the seat belt is not in the right position, the damage to a child's internal organs can be horrific
Peter Sowray - North Yorkshire County Councillor
"Seat belts are designed for adults not for children. If the car is involved in an accident and the seat belt is not in the right position, the damage to a child's internal organs can be horrific.
"It's important people understand the consequences. Children are not small scale adults. Their heads weigh up to a third of their whole body weight and it takes many years of development before they reach adult proportions so the belt must be in the right position."
Anyone who would like a copy of the leaflet on the new law or any advice can contact North Yorkshire Road Safety Team on 01609 532616 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
To get a child's car seat checked out and ensure it complies with the new law, call Northallerton Fire Station on 01609 751010 to make an appointment.