Thousands of children being driven round the UK without being strapped in

08 October 2018

  • Over a tenth admit to doing this as they were running late
  • Parent drivers in London most likely to flout the UK’s car seat law
  • Children aged 5 most likely not to be belted up

A study by Co-op Insurance is estimating that thousands of parents are breaking the law and admitting to making journeys without having their children in appropriate car seats.

Running late or making shorter journeys has been blamed by over a tenth* (13%) of parents for not strapping their children into their vehicles properly.

The law states that children must normally use a child car seat until they’re 12 years old or 135 centimetres tall, whichever comes first**. The penalty for driving a child without having a seatbelt or child seat in place is a maximum of £500.

Children aged between two and eight are most likely to have been driven unrestrained. Parents of children aged 5 are more likely than any other group to have not belted their children in with 22% of parents, who admit to doing this, with children of this age.

More parents in London (22%) admit to driving their children without the correct restraints in place than any other region. Whilst parents in Scotland are most safety conscious with only 6% admitting to not strapping their children in when they were running late or making a short journey.

This finding is particularly worrying however as 11% parents say they have had a bump in their car because they have been distracted by the child.

Despite this 94% of parents believe they are safe or very safe when they get behind the wheel with their children in the car.

However it isn’t only parents who are taking risks with their own children; 13% of parent drivers admit to driving other people’s children without the proper seats/restraints in place. Again, this is more likely to happen in London than any other UK region, with 23% of parents admitting to it there.

And the study findings suggest there may be thousands of parents who are unaware their children are being driven illegally with 12% admitting to allowing their children to be driven without the correct seats or restraints in place.

Nick Ansley, Head of Motor Insurance at Co-op, said:

“Our study estimates that thousands of children, maybe more, are being driven round without being correctly fastened into their seats.

“Child car seats and seat belts are there to keep people as safe as possible. If the worst was to happen and a vehicle was involved in a collision with children not belted in, then the consequences are likely to be much more serious than if a child was strapped in.

“Whilst there is no doubt that parents are simply trying to buy some time in their already manic schedules by sometimes not belting children in properly on short journeys, we are urging parents to ‘buy back’ some of their time at another point in the day – when the stakes aren’t too high.”

Co-op Insurance recently revealed the UK’s safest used car for new parents, the Mazda CX-5, and have created a guide to help this group with the all-important car buying process.

Notes to editors

*60% of parents questioned admitted to one or more behaviours, of these 13.4% admitted to driving without children being strapped in on short journeys or when they are running late


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Jenna Moss PR Manager
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