Expert helps parents take on new child seat law

Article date: 7 September 2006

Parents across the country face the difficulttask of coaxing children as old as 12 back into child booster seatswith the new child car seat regulations coming into force thismonth (18 September).

In support of the new laws, Norwich Union has teamed up with ClaireHalsey, clinical psychologist and expert on ITV1’sDriving Mum and Dad Mad, to develop a series of fun, easytips to help parents get older kids back into booster seats andmake for an altogether safer car journey.

Claire says: “If your child has been used to using an adultseat belt but as a result of the new regulations needs to go backto a child seat the challenge to a parent will be in finding waysto encourage this without tantrums or tears!”

  • Work it out together – Encourage your child toresearch whether they need a booster seat. Finding out the factstogether will help prevent them from feeling they are beingtreated like "babies"¹.
  • Keep them busy! – Have a selection ofbooks, magnetic or computer games to play with in the car whichwill keep them entertained and will distract them from the factthey are in a car or booster seat.
  • Personalise the seat – Let your child choose theirbooster seat from a selection that meet the new guidelines. Bychoosing the colour and style and allowing them to decorate itwith stickers this will encourage them to feel happy to usetheir seat and they can enjoy showing it off to friends andfamily.
  • Explain safety to children – Keep itsimple and say: “We all put our seat belts on in the carto keep us safe.” And remind them that being safe in thecar is a lot like wearing a cycle helmet when they are out ontheir bikes!
  • Make it a responsibility – When there is more thanone child in the car, encourage the older ones to teach youngerones by example. This differentiates them from younger siblingsand will make them feel more adult and responsible.
  • Pull over if children unbuckle – Park and waituntil all seat belts are safely fastened again. Keep on stoppingevery time they unbuckle, until children get the idea that beltsoff means a very slow trip!

Brian Bridges, motor underwriter at NorwichUnion, comments: “As a leading provider of motor insurance,Norwich Union is aware that too many children are killed or injuredduring accidents on the road when the appropriate child restraintisn’t used. Our research shows that children as young as 6may have moved to using an adult seat belt and this simplyisn’t giving them the protection they need.

“The new regulations are a welcome revision and Norwich Uniongives full support to the Government for taking the issue of childcar safety seriously. We advise parents to familiarise themselveswith the new changes due from 18 September and take onboard ourrecommendations to ensure their children are as safe aspossible.”

Current regulations are significantly outdated and insufficient,only advising people to use child seats or boosters if they areavailable. The new regulations are estimated to save up to 2,000child deaths or injuries each year and include:


Front Seat

Rear Seat

Child up to three years²

Correct child restraint must be used

Correct child restraint mush be used

Child from third birthday up to 135cms inheight OR up to 12th birthday, whichever is reached first

Correct child restraint must be used

Where seat belts are fitted, correct childrestraint must be used. Adult belts must be used if correctchild restraint is not available

Child over 135cms or 12 years +

Adult seat belt must be worn ifavailable

Adult seat below must be worn ifavailable

Adult passengers (14 years and over)

Adult seat belt must be worn ifavailable

Adult seat belt must be worn ifavailable

The appropriate child restraint is determinedby the height and weight of the child so it can provide protectionduring different stages of a child’s development.


¹ More information about the change in regulationsis available at

² Children under three years must use the child restraintappropriate for their weight in all cars, vans and other goodsvehicles, with the only exception of the rear of taxis. Childrenmust not travel otherwise.

Press office contacts:
Joanna Pritchard,Lexis PR, on 020 7908 6440 / 07712528558 or

Sally Leeman, Norwich Union Press Office, on 01603 684 225 / 07800699 670

Notes to editors:
Norwich Union is theUK’s largest general insurer with a market share of around14%, with a focus on insurance for individuals and smallbusinesses.

It is a leading provider of life, pensions and investment productsand one of the largest financial adviser (FA) providers. FAsprovide over 70% of the company's long-term savings business in theUK.

Norwich Union’s news releases and a selection of images areavailable from Aviva's internet press centre at

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