Parents risk kids' safety

Article date: 30 November 2005

Millions of parents could be putting theirchild’s safety at risk while behind the wheel, new researchreveals today.

Shocking statistics from leading insurerNorwich Union reveal that a child’s car seat is the lastthing drivers’ check after an accident, with people twice aslikely (92%) to check their lights after a collision as their childcar seat (46%).

Norwich Union is urging motorists to be moreaware of the need to protect young passengers after a collision.The insurer is teaming up with retailer Halfords, the UK’snumber one fitting specialists, to offer its policyholdersreplacement child seat cover of up to £100 in the event of acollision, or for incidents of fire or theft.

Almost half of all parents who drive (44%)admit that they wouldn’t change their child car seat after anaccident, despite the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents(RoSPA) recommending that all child car seats are replaced after acollision – because it’s possible that the child seathas been weakened to such an extent that it will not provide thesame level of protection in another accident.

The research, amongst more than 1,500 drivers,also revealed a mere 9% of parents would keep a child in a safetyseat after their 10th birthday despite legalrecommendations that children under the age of 11 (or under 80lbs)should not travel without a child seat of some sort. The actualaverage age of transition from child car seat to adult seatbelt,according to those surveyed, is being made at just six years old -four years short of the recommended age.

Kevin Clinton, head of road safety at RoSPA,said: "Parents should replace child car seats if the seat hasalready prevented a child from being injured. A child car seat maylook safe but depending on its history, it may offer little or noprotection.

“If parents are in any doubt, they should buy a new seatand also make sure that it is compatible with their car and fittedcorrectly. We support Norwich Union's decision to replace child carseats after a collision."

Craig Martin, product manager at Norwich Union, said:“Parents already know that they should buy a car seat to keeptheir child safe but they may be unwittingly risking theirchild’s health if they don’t replace the seat after anaccident.”

Norwich Union’s ‘Kids andCars’ research also revealed:

  • mothers proved to be more vigilant when it came to child safetywith 62% of respondents stating that they would change their carseats following an accident, compared to 47% of dads
  • following an accident, motorists check lights first (92%),followed by steering (83%), tyres (81%), brakes (79%),indicators (76%), doors (72%), licence plate (57%) and car seat(46%)
  • motorists in the South-East and Scotland are most vigilant aboutchecking their child seat after an accident – motorists inthese regions are 20% more likely to do so compared to thenational average.

Even at low speeds, having your child in anincorrectly fitted seat could increase their risk of injury. Everyyear over 8,000 children under the age of 11 are injured in carjourneys, of which 500 are seriously injured. The proper use ofchild car restraints would prevent many of these*.

As part of Norwich Union’s car policyHalfords will offer free advice on choosing the right car seat.They also offer a free fitting service to ensure loved ones remainsafe. With 90% of the population living within 20 minutes of astore, the service is widely accessible.

For more details customers should eithercontact their broker or Norwich Union Direct on 0800 107 0497 orvisit the website at


For further information pleasecontact:
Claire Culshaw or Jasmine Agbulos at LexisPublic Relations on 0207 908 6488 or e-mail or or SallyLeeman at Norwich Union on 01603 684225/07800 699670 or

Notes to editors:

Research commissioned by Tickbox, November2005. Over 1,500 people were questioned in the survey.

*National safety statistics provided byRoSPA

RoSPA Child Car Seat Tips

  • Do not purchase a second-hand car seat if you cannot be certainof its history
  • Make sure the manufacturer’s instructions are available
  • Make sure the seat is suitable for your child’s weight andheight
  • Check that the seat meets the UN standard – look for the‘E’ mark

About Norwich UnionInsurance

  • Norwich Union is the UK's largest insurer with a market share ofaround 14 per cent
  • With a focus on insurance for individuals and smallbusinesses, Norwich Union insures:
    • One in five households
    • One in seven motor vehicles
    • Around 800,000 businesses
  • Norwich Union products are available through a variety ofdistribution channels including brokers, corporate partners suchas banks and building societies and Norwich Union Direct.
  • Aviva, Norwich Union’s parent company, recentlyannounced its acquisition of the RAC. The acquisition bringstogether the RAC's powerful brand and customer base with theexpertise and leading position in motor insurance of Norwich UnionInsurance.
  • Norwich Union's news releases and a selection of images areavailable on the Aviva internet press centre
  • An ISDN facility is available for studio quality broadcast.Call the press office on 01603 682264
  • Norwich Union Insurance Limited Registered in England No99122. Registered office: 8 Surrey Street, Norwich, NR1 3NG
  • Authorised and regulated by the Financial ServicesAuthority
  • Member of the Aviva group

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