Driving with Kids in Car

A quarter of parents have experience child open door of moving car.

The AA is reminding mums and dads to make sure their little ones are properly fastened in their car seats following the results of their most recent Members’ poll. Of a sample of 1,375 parents with children under the age of 12, three quarters indicated that one or more of their children has at some stage freed themselves from the straps.

Car Door & Car Seat Safety

“The buckles in most good car seats are designed to be difficult for little fingers to open. Having said that, some kids will manage, my own daughter back in the day included. In light of these findings we’re asking parents to do their best to drill into their kids how important it is to stay in their restraints.” SaysConor Faughnan, Director of Consumer Affairs, AA Ireland.

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The AA also advises parents to make sure the straps are tight enough in the first place and that the seat itself is correctly fitted.

They recommend removing bulky clothing from children such as coats and doing the two finger test; parents should be able to slot two fingers in between the straps and their child but not able to rotate them 180 degrees.

More Diligence with Child Locks Needed

Further to this, a quarter of the parents polled admitted they’d had the horrifying experience of a child opening the door of their moving car. Thankfully the AA shares that none of the participants reported any injury to the children in question however it stresses that they were all very lucky.

“While EU laws dictate that all children must travel in the correct car seat, booster seat or booster cushion, the use of child locks isn’t compulsory. It is however good practice for anyone travelling with young children.” Says Faughnan “Busy little hands and curious minds can and has led to tragedy in the past so you can never be too careful.”

3% Have Looked on While Child Let Off Hand Brake

While imitation is said to be the biggest form of flattery, it can be less than welcome when it’s applied to kids in the car. 6% of the parents polled by the AA said one of their children had managed to start their car while another 3% had to leap into action following a let off hand brake.

More Frustrating Than Dangerous

In other incidents the behaviour of young children has been less dangerous and more frustrating.

23% of the mums and dads who participated in the AA’s survey indicated that one or more of their little rascals has done damage to their car. Many a toddler it seems has taken pebble to paintwork or crammed coins in the CD player.

An unfortunate 4% of parents have also been left red faced upon discovery that their child has damaged someone else’s car. One mortified mum shared how her 4 year cracked a neighbour’s windscreen with a toy car.

12% of parents have also found themselves scrambling for the spare keys or calling out an AA Patrol after one or more of their children have locked them outside of the car.

“This is an absolute classic; scarcely a week will go by without one of our Patrols been tasked to a car where a child has locked themselves in. Usually the parent will be standing just beside the car chatting to someone or about to pop the groceries in the boot when they find themselves locked out.” Says Faughnan.

The AA provide a car seat how to guide, on YouTube http://youtu.be/cpIIHQIgP1Q or their blog http://www.theaa.ie/blog/correctly-fit-child-car-seats/

Fig. 1 Whether or not respondents’ children have ever done the following:

(Based on the respondents of 1,375 poll respondents with children under the age of 12. Responses gathered via online poll issued mid November 2014)

  ALL RESPONDENTS (1,375 resps.)
Gotten out of their car seat/child restraint. 76%
Damaged your car somehow 23%
Opened the door while you were driving. 23%
Thrown their belongings out the window. 13%
Locked themselves in the car. 12%
Managed to start your car. 6%
Thrown your/another family member’s belongings out of the window 4%
Damaged someone else’s car 4%
Taken the hand brake off. 3%
Put something in the exhaust pipe 1%

 Fig. 2 Whether or not respondents’ children have ever done the following:

  DADS (756 resps.) MUMS (591 resps.)
Gotten out of their car seat/child restraint. 77% 74%
Damaged your car somehow 28% 17%
Opened the door while you were driving. 21% 24%
Thrown their belongings out the window. 12% 14%
Locked themselves in the car. 13% 11%
Managed to start your car. 6% 5%
Thrown your/another family member’s belongings out of the window 4% 4%
Damaged someone else’s car 5% 3%
Taken the hand brake off. 4% 3%
Put something in the exhaust pipe 1% 1%