Being in a hurry, the daily routine, or general worries and concerns along with so many other reasons can cause us to make mistakes when traveling with children in any form of transport. The vast majority of these mistakes are down to a failure in concentration, although sometimes they are also due to a lack of knowledge on the parents' part or by the adults in charge of the children.
The first mistake is being unfamiliar with current legislation, something which we can look over at any point by clicking on this link. We should be well aware of any new legislation, laws and any updates to them, not only to avoid penalties but also for the safety of everyone around us.
Frequent mistakes made in the car
There are a series of mistakes we can make in the car, ranging from the most serious to the seemingly harmless. These are the most serious and common mistakes:
• Using non-approved child car seats. This is a serious mistake because non-approved child car seats do not guarantee your child's safety in the same way that approved seats do. This mistake could lead to serious chest and head wounds in the event of a crash.
• Mistakes when installing the CRS and positioning the harnesses. Correctly placing, anchoring and securing the CRS as well as properly positioning the harnesses is vital for your child's safety. A common mistake is to allow the harnesses to fit too loosely.
• Failing to use a CRS is a very serious mistake. This often happens in the case of newborn babies or very small children (who are often carried in someone's arms, which is very dangerous), as well as for older children where we are unsure if they should still be using a car seat or not. Generally speaking, this mistake is fairly widespread.
• Using old or damaged child seats. This mistake is, in many ways, harder to pinpoint than the others. However, child restraint systems have an «expiry» date because their components are made from plastics and other materials that deteriorate over time. Using a worn-out CRS increases the risk that the seat will fail to protect your child in a crash.
In the following infographic we can see the typical mistakes that are made, along with their consequences.
Mistakes made on other forms of transport
There are many other means of transportation where we can travel with young children, such as, for example, on a motorcycle. We can transport our children by motorcycle as long as we are aware of the legislation in this area.
The most common mistakes on a motorcycle occur precisely because we are not familiar with the relevant legislation: not wearing a helmet, not using car seats designed for motorcycles, or not complying with the minimum age requirement.
On other forms of transport, such as the bus, the most common mistake made is not using a seat belt and allowing the child to run around the vehicle unsupervised. There is no risk when the seat belt is a two-point belt (the most frequent kind) although, of course, the safest way for the child to travel is in a child restraint system.
We recommend that you read this comprehensive article in order to learn about how children should travel in a safe way on all the most frequent forms of transport, in order to avoid making mistakes that could increase the risk of injuries in a crash.
Lastly, we would highlight that a frequent mistake made when taking a cab is believing that children do not need to use a child seat under any circumstances. A child under 135 cm tall can currently travel without a child restraint system provided that the cab journey is within the town or city and the child travels in the rear seats. If the cab is going to be traveling on intercity roads the child must be seated in a child seat (and if they are less than 135 cm tall, they must travel on the rear seat). At Fundación MAPFRE we recommend that they travel in a child restraint system both on intercity and city roads.