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Sit Safe, Child Safe - In-car safety campaign launched 18 June 2007

The Department of Transport Road Safety Unit officially launched its In-Car Safety Campaign today (Tuesday 12th June) at the Isle of Man Children’s Centre on Woodbourne Road, Douglas.

The campaign has been launched to coincide with the introduction of new in-car safety laws on the Island which will come into effect from July 1st 2007. The law, which was introduced in the UK last September, states that all children under the age of 12 and under 1.35m/4’5” in height will be required to travel in the correct child restraint in cars registered after 1st April 1987. Children 12 years and over regardless of height must use an adult seatbelt or ideally the correct restraint for their height and weight.

Gordon Edwards, Road Safety Manager, said:

‘The most important and precious thing you can carry in your vehicle is a child. It is vital that children are carried safely and in appropriate safety seats that have been specifically designed for their smaller size and weight. Adult seatbelts are not suitable for children under 4ft 5ins/1.35m and could cause serious damage to internal organs during a collision. Drivers need to be aware that any child travelling in their car is their responsibility and it is vitally important that they ensure that their car is fitted with restraints which are suitable to keep the child safe and to help avoid any injury to the child during a collision and also to avoid paying a fine! Most drivers on the Island will already be using the restraints outlined by the law, this is just the law catching up with best practice. Child safety is a primary area of the work of the Isle of Man Road Safety Unit and the introduction of the new law in the Isle of Man means that our children will be safer than ever’.

The campaign includes posters, billboards and fuel pump cards all featuring children of various ages seated in child restraints and the message ‘Sit safe, child safe’. A leaflet will also be produced outlining the law in detail, including information on the types of restraint available and exemptions to the law. This leaflet will be distributed to all school children on the Island.

The changes to the law mean that

  • all children under 4 years old must use the correct child seat when travelling in any car or goods vehicle (except in the rear of a taxi if a child seat is not available)children aged 4 years and under 12 must use the correct child seat/booster seat/booster cushion when travelling in cars or goods vehicles until they reach 135cms (approx 4’5”). Few exceptions are permitted;
  • children aged 4 years and under 12 must use the correct child seat/booster seat/booster cushion when travelling in cars or goods vehicles until they reach 135cms (approx 4’5”). Few exceptions are permitted;
  • taller children and all those aged 12 and over need to use adult belts;
  • rear-facing baby seats must not be used in seats with an active frontal air-bag;
  • there are some specific practical exemptions - for taxis, emergency vehicles, and (for children aged 4 and over) journeys over a short distance in an unexpected necessity;
  • in mini-buses and goods vehicles, seated passengers aged 12 years and above 1.35m/4’5” must use seat belts where they are fitted. For children under the age of 4 the correct child restraint must be worn, for children between the ages of 4 and 12 and under 1.35m/4’5”, the correct child restraint must be worn in the front seat and where available in the rear;
  • in coaches children occupying the front seats must use the correct child restraint until they are 12 or 1.35m/4’5”, after this age and when taller than this height they should use the adult seatbelt.

The Hon David Anderson MHK, Minister for Transport, said:

‘As the technology of cars has improved over the years so has the technology used in child seats and restraints. It is good to see that the law on the Island is now catching up with these advances.’

The Department of Transport Road Safety Unit will be running a special car seat fitting course for all professionals involved with fitting child restraints, such as retailers and midwives. The courses will be taking place on the 18th June and will ensure that there are people in the Island who are trained to give information and advice to drivers.

PC Richard Kennish of the Road Policing Unit said:

‘The new safety requirements are an important measure to ensure the safety of children in vehicles. The police will take this legislation very seriously and will consider prosecution for breaches. The safety of our children should be the most important thing for us all, remember not to overcrowd your car when driving the school run and ensure that all the children are travelling in the correct child restraint. If you have any queries about the law you should contact the Police or the Road Safety Unit to ensure that you comply with the new law.’

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