Article date: 14 July 2006
Motor insurer Norwich Union has welcomed a tightening of therules governing vehicle child and baby seats, which is set to comeinto force this September.
Under new government regulations it will be compulsory for theunder threes to use the child seat or booster appropriate fortheir age in any vehicle. Children aged over three and up to theage of 12 will also have to use an appropriate child restraint asadult seatbelts are designed for people over 150cm in height andwith an adult bone structure1. It will also be illegalto use a rear facing baby seat in a seat protected by anairbag.
From May 2008 the European Union’s UN ECE 44.03 or laterstandard child restraints must be used (meaning the restraintshave undergone rigorous testing before they can be deemed suitablefor sale).
The government estimates the planned rule changes could prevent upto 2000 child deaths or injuries every year1.
Norwich Union, which last year teamed up with retailer Halfords tointroduce replacement child seat cover as part of its Private Carand Just Car insurance, this week welcomed the planned rulechanges.
Andy Boyd, product development manager at Norwich Union commented:“These measures will further protect children travelling inall vehicles and represents an appropriate tightening of theexisting rules. As a leading provider of motor insurance we thinkthe government is taking the right approach on this issue.
“Most measures taken in this area – such as theintroduction of compulsory seatbelt wearing - make for safer roadsand safer driving. Deaths on British roads plummeted after wearinga seatbelt was made compulsory – and it’s to ourcredit that we have one of the best road safety records in theworld.
“However, too many children are still killed or injured onour roads every year and by using a correctly fitted child seatthat is suitable for their weight and size many of these deathsand injuries could be prevented.
“These new rules mean a move away from the current situationof child seats having to be used 'if they are available'. Giventhat most cars now have rear seatbelts, we think it is appropriateto insist that child seats and boosters are used – apartfrom in a very few exceptions. It also makes sense to insist thatchildren under 135cm in height don’t move on to adultseatbelts too soon. And we think it’s important to reminddrivers that they are responsible for ensuring the rules areadhered to.”
Since last October, Norwich Union Private Car and Just Carpolicyholders have been offered replacement car seat cover of upto £100 in the event of a crash, or for incidents of fire ortheft.
Andy Boyd added: “Government and road safety agenciesrecommend child seats should not be used again following anaccident. Statistics also reveal that 80%2 of childseats are incorrectly fitted into vehicles. Our partnership withHalfords means Private Car and Just Car policyholders can receivefree advice on selecting the right car seat and a free fittingservice to ensure their loved ones remain safe.”
Policyholders will never be far away from a branch of Halfords as90% of the population are within 20 minutes of astore3. In addition, each store has at least twomembers of staff who have been fully trained on fitting childseats in vehicles.
1 Department of Transport Think RoadSafety website (http://www.thinkroadsafety.gov.uk/)- government Road Safety Minister, Stephen Ladyman.
2 Survey for Mother and Baby Magazine carried out in2004
3 Source: Halfords
For further information, please contact:
Clare Schofield at Staniforth on 0161 919 8021/ 07971609839
Sally Leeman at Norwich Union on 01603 684225/ 07800 699670
Notes to editors:
Norwich Union is the UK’s largest general insurer with amarket share of around 14%, with a focus on insurance forindividuals and small businesses.
Norwich Union is the UK’s largest insurer. It is a leadingprovider of life, pensions and investment products and one of thelargest financial adviser (FA) providers. FAs provide over 70% ofthe company's long-term savings business in the UK.
Norwich Union’s news releases and a selection of images areavailable from Aviva's internet press centre at www.aviva.com/media.