In a recent survey, 28% of the children questioned claimed they never use a special child seat. Meanwhile, seven out of every ten children aged between 5 and 12 said they always traveled in a child seat. When we asked the parents, there was quite a different story. Here we analyze the two major studies conducted to date to try and ascertain the true situation in Spain with regard to the use of child restraint systems.
In the study on "Road safety habits of parents and children in cars", conducted by Midas, Ipsos and the Spanish Child Safety Association, 28% of children aged between 5 and 12 claimed they never traveled in a CRS, while 8% of parents recognized that very occasionally they failed to use a child seat or booster cushion, and sometimes not even the adult seat belt. This last figure was also reflected in the report "Booster seats in cars: how long should they be used?", conducted by Fundación MAPFRE.
It should be borne in mind that more than half the children who said they never used a CRS (i.e. over half of the 28%) were over nine years old, and hence could well be over 135 cm tall, which is the height under which a CRS is compulsory.
Does this mean that we only use child seats when forced to? (by the law) Is it no longer necessary to continue using child seats after the child has reached a height of 135 cm? The study by Fundación MAPFRE shows that an extremely high percentage of children move on to using an adult seat belt too early. This 28% of children between the ages of 6 and 8 and 38% of those aged between 9 and 10 use them.
We should bear in mind that in the case of older children (aged 6-12), booster cushions are 45% safer than seat belts designed for adults.
Moreover, not only do people abandon CRS too early, they also fail to change from one child seat to another in the right order. The same survey reveals that 6% of children move from a baby seat (Group 0+) to a booster seat (Group II) without the intermediary step of child seats in Group I. "This skipping of the intermediary step is a serious risk that is entirely avoidable," states the report.
DO THEY ALWAYS GO IN THE BACK SEAT?
The survey by Midas, Ipsos and the Spanish Child Safety Association indicates that 86% of children confirm that they travel in the back seat, whether in a regulation child seat or using the mandatory seat belts.
This figure was also reflected in the Fundación MAPFRE report, which shows that the vast majority of children use the back seat. In the case of children aged between 4 and 10 who use front-facing child seats, the percentage rises to 95.5%.
In this respect, we recommend the article "Why it is best for children to travel in the middle back seat".