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car seats(6 Posts)
Two of my children have special needs and therefore there are meetings regularly to ensure they and I have enough support (at least supposedly to ensure this - it never happens!). An attendance and engagement officer has been involved as I had difficulty gettng a school place for the eldest and she has become the lead professional in the meetings. she had two or three meetings arranged for somewhere too far from my home and I don't drive. She said she would give me a lift but has only one car seat (a booster) and I had to take a 2 year old (special needs) and a 3 year old with me. She said I would ahve to have my youngest on my lap with a belt round me.
Now, even if not illegal, I would be concerned about her saying this but surely it is illegal. I checked the car safety law and although there is an exception for short journeys of nexpected necessity, this does not apply to children under 3. I told her this and she said thats right but its ok for us to take children for short journeys without a seat. She said her department checked when the law came out and taht they are allowed to take even under 3 s without a seat.
I find this hard to believe and she has got other things wrong too. What do others think?
I also find this very hard to believe, although there is an exemption for taxis (and short emergency journeys as you said).
If this is in her personal car then I would be very surprised if insurance would cover this too (although obviously insurance is the least of your worries)
Since you're required to go to these meetings couldn't a taxi be arranged for you? Taxi companies often have child seats available, which whilst of unknown quality are infinitely better (and more legal) than 'sitting on your lap' or having a child on a booster seat when they're too small for it.
This site www.childcarseats.org.uk/advice/index.htm has a search page where you can call for advice - it looks like most county councils have a road safety helpline
Lastly - unless she is a taxi (or licenced private car hire) it's very clear that it's illegal for the child to travel unrestrained no matter what the age, and over 3 they have to be in appropriate restraints even in taxis:
The law requires all children travelling in cars to use the correct child restraint until they are either 135 cm in height or the age of 12 (which ever they reach first) . After this they must use an adult seat belt. There are very few exceptions, and the main ones are set out below.
In a licensed taxi or licensed hire car, if a child restraint is not available then the child may travel unrestrained in the rear. This is the only exception for children under 3, and has been introduced for practical rather than safety reasons. You should always think about ways to make sure that a child seat is available.
Can't comment on the legality of it but like you I wouldn't be happy with that arrangement as it wouldn't be safe for your dcs.
If the professionals can't arrange child seats for your kids you could probably aquire some for free on freecycle - especially if you explain the circumstances, people are very willing to help.
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