Going to school by car: child seats still an issue

Children of elementary school age must be secured in suitable child seats, even for short car journeys.

It’s during this time that things become difficult, however, because many children no longer want to use their child seats. Because they are already “so big”, some parents believe an adult’s seat belt is all they need. This is a dangerous mistake.

If a child is not using a raised seat and there is an accident, the adult seat belt can cut into the child’s stomach or neck deeply and cause bad injuries. That is why children should have a raised seat – including, if at all possible, a backrest – and be secured in place by means of a three-point seat belt.

The weight categories of the child seats (group III: 22 – 36 kg) may appear to suggest that children heavier than 36 kg no longer have to have raised seats. This is wrong. The height of the child and thus the positioning of the seat belt on the child are critical. Children of up to 150 cm tall and who have no yet reached their 12th birthday must be secured in child seats. Children heavier than 36 kg should have raised seats that are as wide and stable as possible.

Parents who provide a “taxi service” to their children are not necessarily helping them. If driving their children to school is unavoidable, however, parents should follow a number of basic guidelines:

  • Drive at an appropriate speed and be particularly vigilant.

  • Only stop where it is allowed.

  • Always let the child get out onto the sidewalk rather than the road.

  • Approach the school by a route that will mean the child does not have to cross the road after getting out of the car.

  • Do not wait on the other side of the road after school.