Nursery Today magazine

Mifold calls for greater car safety awareness

British parents are taking risks with their kids’ safety in cars when driving, according to a study released today by mifold.

The research of 2,000 mums and dads, found 34 per cent have allowed their children to travel without a suitable child restraint. The study also revealed that 35 per cent of children aged between four and 12 years have travelled using the car seatbelt alone and one fifth have perched their child on a cushion instead of a suitable seat. 16 per cent even admitted to having travelled with their little ones sitting in the boot.

Most worrying, the study revealed that parents do not know the dangers of a child using the car seat belt alone. Over half surveyed were unaware that a child under 135cm tall can slide under a standard car seatbelt in the event of a crash, and over a third (36 per cent) do not know that a car seat belt can cause serious injuries if the vehicle stops suddenly or is in a collision.

Father-of-four, Jon Sumroy, who invented mifold, said: “There’s certainly confusion among parents about what’s required to keep their children safe. A car seat belt chest strap must lie on the clavicle (collar bone), over the edge of the shoulder and the lap belt should rest on the bones of the hips. When a child is too small for a seat belt, as is the case before they are 135cm tall, it can cut into their face or neck and ride up onto their soft stomach - this is incredibly dangerous in the event of a collision.”

The study found ‘pester power’ is one of key the reasons why parents feel they can’t always take in-car safety into account, with one in five saying their child has travelled unprotected as a result of them kicking up a fuss about using a suitable child restraint.

Carried out through, the survey also found that 54 per cent of parents worry they will break the law when travelling with their children. A quarter (27 per cent) admit they have already done so and nearly half (47 per cent) of parents believe their friends may have flouted the law when transporting their child.

A significant 85 per cent of parents believe the Government should do more to raise awareness of the dos and don’ts of in-car safety.

A spokesman for road safety charity, Brake, which has partnered with mifold, said: “Child safety is paramount and too many children are being affected by road crashes, devastating families and ruining lives. Parents need to take responsibility for keeping their children safe, whether in their own car or in vehicles driven by other family members or childcare providers, by using appropriate restraints at all times.”

With the holidays approaching, the occasions where parents might have to take a risk increases. Taxi rides, play dates, short trips and travelling in hire cars can all present child safety challenges.  Nearly half of UK parents admit they have had to compromise on their child’s safety in the back of a taxi when there was no access to a child car seat and, over a third of parents have been on holiday without access to a suitable child car seat. One fifth admit to having ‘squeezed’ kids into a backseat containing four or more passengers.

Jon Sumroy added: “I invented mifold which is an incredibly compact child restraint, when I realised my own children were being put at risk in frequent car sharing. It became more and more difficult to ensure they were safely seated in a car that could not accommodate more than two high back seats.

“I wanted to find a safe, practical and portable solution that would keep my kids safe no matter whose car they were in. mifold is for those scenarios where children might have to travel using the standard car seat belt, such as unexpected quick trips in secondary cars, using hire cars, taxis, car sharing or on playdates with friends.”

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