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Childminder and seatbelts in car - am i over-reacting? help!

(46 Posts)
ally2006 Thu 22-Sep-11 14:06:14

Hi ladies hope you can help!

My DS aged 5 goes to a childminder 2 mornings a week who gives him breakfast and takes him to school. 2 of his little mates also go to her and she spoils them rotton, needless to say he loves it! he has been going to her for the whole of Reception and sees her house as a 2nd home!

On Tuesday he came home and told me (starting with a random comment) that they drove to school this morning instead of walking - that's fine - BUT that there were 5 children to take and they all squidged into the car, he and his mate had one seatbelt across the 2 of them, and no booster seats! I asked him about who was there are there were 5 kids altogether. She has a small car which I would say was max 4 passengers (4 passenger seatbelts).

Now I am probably being paranoid but I am not happy with this. It is only a short drive to school BUT surely this is not safe and she shouldn't be doing it? the car is not big enough for that many passengers.

My son thought the whole thing was great and no harm was done, but now I am so worried that this is happening regularly. Also I am friends with one of the other children's Mum but she is a real worrier and if i told her this it would totally freak her out, so haven't said anything but feeling very bad.

I don't think this is illegal but certainly not good practice and not sure what OFSTED would think? - or would be not be bothered?

I did raise it with the childminder this morning but she just looked annoyed and said that sometimes the bigger ones share a seatblet as if that's normal?? What would you do? He loves going there and she is a real motherly type, and lives just round the corner. He is only in year 1 and I was hoping to stay with her for most of primary school if possible. Childminders are hard to come by round here and I would struggle to get a new one.

Am now in a bit of state trying to work out if i am going way over the top about this - and how to tackle this - any advice welcome!

Thanks

MotherPanda Thu 22-Sep-11 14:08:47

i'm sure it is illegal! all children under 12 (or 135cm or something) must have a car seat or booster seat.
I would do a bit of googling and print out something for your childminder.

TheOriginalFAB Thu 22-Sep-11 14:09:02

Of course it is illegal. Bloody hell.

I would never leave my child with her gain and would be reporting her.

MotherPanda Thu 22-Sep-11 14:09:33

www.childcarseats.org.uk/law/

Springyknickersohnovicars Thu 22-Sep-11 14:10:39

It's illegal because it's dangerous. If she doesn't want to drive with children secured legally, then she walks. End of discussion.

MotherPanda Thu 22-Sep-11 14:11:04

Children aged 3 and above, until they reach EITHER their 12th birthday OR 135cm in height

In the Front Seat

The child MUST use the correct child restraint.

In the Rear Seat

The child MUST use the correct restraint, where seat belts are fitted.

There are three exceptions where there is not a child seat available. In each case the child MUST use the adult belt instead. They are -

1) in a licensed taxi or private hire vehicle;

2) if the child is travelling on a short distance for reason of unexpected necessity;

3) if there are two occupied child restraints in the rear which prevent the fitment of a third.

In addition, a child 3 and over may travel unrestrained in the rear seat of a vehicle if seat belts are not available.

It is the driver's legal responsibility to ensure that the child is correctly restrained.

Eglu Thu 22-Sep-11 14:11:09

Well firstly it is illegal and I would be furious. Even more concerned that she felt that it wasn't unreasonable. I would have expected her to say it was an emergnecy so they didn't have time to walk or something. Although that still wouldn't excuse it for me.

I would tell her quite categorically that she is never to transport your child or any others in that way ever again. OFSTED would not take kindly to it at all.

Reality Thu 22-Sep-11 14:11:31

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Alliwantisaroomsomewhere Thu 22-Sep-11 14:11:37

YANBU at all.

Catsdontcare Thu 22-Sep-11 14:13:31

I would be fucked off and I don't care how lovely she was she'd find my foot up her arse for that.

DorisIsAPinkDragon Thu 22-Sep-11 14:14:00

It is illegal. on 2 counts small children should DEFINITELY be in a booster seat (there are very few occasions when it is deemed reasonable to travel without) and this would not be one of them. Cars only have the nuber of seatbeats for the correct number of passengers.

I'm not sure but I think carrying over and avove that number possibly invalidates her insureance as well (as well as using her car for a business use but she may have business use (giving her the benefit of the doubt hmm).

The fact that she has admitted it AND suggested it is ea regular occurance would have me hoping mad and looking for somewhere else.

I would also be telling other mums why.

She is not taking car safety seriously... what else is she not taking seriously?

WyrdMother Thu 22-Sep-11 14:15:35

It's illegal and wouldn't it invalidate her car insurance as well? Possibly her public liability insurance too (if she has it, my ex CM and now good friend did). I think you have to ask if this is true and make it crystal, politely that this is absolutely not on. If my area is anything to go by they'll be loads of chilminders who'd love to have the business so she should be motivated to keep you.

MotherPanda Thu 22-Sep-11 14:20:26

"It is also dangerous to put a seat belt around yourself and a child (or around two children)."

please make sure your childminder has a thorough read of the above website. I'm really shocked that she doesn't know all of this! Make sure she knows it isn't just a matter of the law - its about the childrens safety.

sorry to keep posting - i'll go away now!

justcallmemummypig Thu 22-Sep-11 14:24:32

I don't care how wonderful she is... if your son was seriously injured in an accident as he was sharing a seatbelt, you'd never forgive yourself. Make it very clear that it's not acceptable and state that you do not want him going in her car again. However I would also wonder about her other policies if she can be so laid back over something so important.

ContinentalKat Thu 22-Sep-11 14:26:25

Absolutely unacceptable. Tell her firmly that you DO NOT WANT your child ever being driven anywhere by her again (unless legal amount of children in proper booster seats in the car). Put that restraint into writing, I am sure you have a contract with her. Also tell her that you will report her, inform the other parents of the children she looks after and not send your dc any more if she should ignore your request.
I would be livid if this had happened to me!

faverolles Thu 22-Sep-11 14:26:32

I'm really shocked that a CM would risk her career over this. It's definitely illegal, and I'm pretty sure OFSTED wouldn't take kindly to this, even if it was an emergency.
I wouldn't be happy leaving my dc in her care again if she can be so lax when it comes to serious safety issues.

Aitcherella Thu 22-Sep-11 14:32:47

It's illegal for three reasons; the children not having car seats, there not being enough seatbelts for all passengers and the vehicle being overcrowded.

If she needs to transport five children at any one time she should have a vehicle with enough seats to do so. She should also have, at the very least, business class 1 insurance for her car, she should make the insurance certificate available for you to view should you so wish.

She needs to be reported to Ofsted and the police, I would remove my children from her care and encourage other parent's to do so, until she starts putting their safety before her convenience.

Tewkespeggy Thu 22-Sep-11 14:40:35

phone ofsted. Please, phone ofsted.

SnapesMistress Thu 22-Sep-11 15:21:09

Tell the other parents and speak to her about it. I would not phone ofstead if she promises never to do it again.

LoveBeingAMummyAgain Thu 22-Sep-11 15:32:11

I can't believe her reaction tbh. She knows she should not be doing that.

ally2006 Thu 22-Sep-11 15:38:59

Thanks ladies, seems my gut reaxtion was right. I am really shocked by the whole thing tbh.
A xx

gallicgirl Thu 22-Sep-11 15:46:29

Not only is it illegal but if caught, the driver is responsible for each passenger under the age of 14 and can be liable to a fine of £1000 for each infringement, I think.

I'm shocked that any driver would think this is ok.

stayingsane Thu 22-Sep-11 15:49:18

Definitely tell other people. She would not want to lose business, surely? Bang out of order.

I begged and borrowed a booster seat in the school playground when I've been asked (in an emergency) to take someone else's child home and I didn't have a spare booster seat on me. I was too worried not to have them all legally and safely secured, emergency or not. She should have the same attitude.

Silly woman.

spiderpig8 Thu 22-Sep-11 15:57:39

I would speak to her first.It might be not QUITE how your Ds describes.It might be there were only 4 children today and your DS has got mixed up

Rollergirl1 Thu 22-Sep-11 16:00:36

I would also hold off from calling Ofsted just yet until you have had another word with her. Tell her that you are really concerned about your conversation and her reaction and that you are seriously considering looking for another childminder. And also inform the other parents. See what she says?

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