Wearing seat belts and having children travel in appropriate child restraint systems are the basic safety premises which should be followed. Nevertheless, many people are still choosing to put their own lives and their children's lives at risk. The latest DGT surveillance campaign has ended with the discovery of no less than 240 children under the age of 12 traveling without a child car seat. It is worth highlighting that 64 of these children were traveling in the front seats, which is completely prohibited by law unless three exceptions are met.
The regulation establishes that minors who are less than 135 cm tall should go in the rear seats with an approved child restraint system adapted to their size and weight. There are only three exceptions in which a child can sit in the front seat of the car:
- If the vehicle does not have any back seats.
- If all the back seats are already occupied by other children in their respective child seats.
- If child restraint systems cannot be installed in the said seats.
The campaign lasted 7 days (from 13 to 19 of March) and during that time the traffic police have registered 31,845 vehicles and have found 3083 people driving without any kind of restraint system, such as a seat belt or a child car seat. Specifically, 2843 people were traveling without a seat belt and 240 children without a child restraint system.
The DGT indicates that out of a total of 3083 reports filed, 2595 were people traveling in passenger cars, 458 in freight vehicles, 23 in buses and 6 in taxis. Furthermore, it is important to note that 99% of the people who were not using such safety devices were driving on the normal highways, and these are the very highways which produce 8 out of 10 fatalities.
All passengers should be correctly fastened in their seats. Children are too small to be protected by a seat belt and that is why it is important that they are seated in a child restraint system approved for their size and weight.
In ‘Consequences of using child restraint systems incorrectly’ we can see what happens when a child is put in a child seat wrongly, as could be the case with an unapproved CRS or one with gaps in the harnesses. The consequences of having a child sitting on the passenger's lap or only with a seat belt on is also shown:
A child sitting on the passenger's lap:
A child without a child car seat and only a seat belt on:
Although the law obliges children who are 135cm tall to use a child restraint system Fundación MAPFRE advises doing so until the child is 150cm tall and provided that the physical conditions of the child allow for it.