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5 children in car- 1 in front seat and none of them restrained

(23 Posts)
eyelash Sat 27-Mar-04 15:10:38

We have just come home from a trip out today and on the motorway, saw a ford focus with 2 adults in front of car both with belts on, 4 young children (ages 3 - 7 approximately) in the back of the car none restrained, and a younger child sitting on the lap of the passenger seat adult who also appeared not to be restrained. I feel so angry that these adults were unnecessarily putting these children at risk in this way. It's not like we could have done anything as we didn't have a phone with us, and didn't want to make faces at the driver in case I distracted her and caused an accident. A motorbike policeman passed them out, looked in and just carried on. I hope the driver is a mumsnetter and sees this but slim chance of that!

Why is it in this day and age people think this is acceptable.

SoupDragon Sat 27-Mar-04 15:14:00

Whatever the other issues, 4 on the back seat is illegal as it's only designed for (and has restraints for) 3.

Clayhead Sat 27-Mar-04 15:20:13

eyelash, there was a simililar thread recently, here .

It's something I have a 'thing' about although, as you can see from the thread, others a re more relaxed.

eyelash Sat 27-Mar-04 15:30:14

Thanks for the link clayhead. I hadn't spotted this thread but it certainly makes interesting reading!

lydialemon Sat 27-Mar-04 16:04:17

Just popped down to safeways to pick up a few bits, as I walked back a car pulled up outside one of those generic chicken places. It was a little two seater MG type thing. As I walked passed I happened to glance down and in the passenger seat was a woman, a little boy was crouched in the passenger well, and she was also holding a baby who couldn't have been more than a week old.



lydialemon Sat 27-Mar-04 16:05:14

That should, of course, have been 'past' not 'passed'.

Bagpuss30 Sat 27-Mar-04 16:20:51

Oh, eyelash what silly people. We were involved in a motorway accident at Christmas time, there were just the four of us in the car (two kids were in child seats). The other driver only glanced off our front bumper but the energy transferred was enough to spin us several times and roll our car. It was the most frightening experience of my life and I'm sure that had ds and dd not been safely strapped in then they would not have been here today.

If only more people knew what it was like to go through an accident like that then I'm sure they would not endanger their children's lives as you have described .

roisin Sat 27-Mar-04 16:42:34

My children are old enough to do up their own belts now. If dh starts the engine before they are clicked in they start screaming, because they've been taught it's dangerous not to be strapped in.

I can't believe people who don't insist their children are safely restrained.

Actually it must be genetic - we always had seatbelts, even thirty odd years ago when it was unusual. My earliest ever memory is going to a party in a friend's car and being terrified because I wasn't strapped in! I was about 3.

MrsGrump Sat 27-Mar-04 17:56:45

I once watched my neighbour drive off to the park with her sister and at least 5 of their children, including two babies under 1yo, variously arranged around an ordinary 5-seater car. SIGH.

Twinkie Mon 29-Mar-04 10:45:53

Don't think it is illegal but have been told that your insurance won't cover you if you are in an accident and have more bodies than adequate restraints in a car!!

dinny Mon 29-Mar-04 10:55:56

Bagpuss30, I had very similar crash. If we hadn't been wearing seatbelts we'd have had our heads crushed when we rolled. I can't believe the amount of people who don't used child seats. Know a friend of mine breastfeeds on motorway. Why not just pull in and have a break? Madness.

Hulababy Mon 29-Mar-04 10:58:21

They definitely wouldn't be insured in an accident if they have more people in the car than there are seats for. Not sure on kegality of it though - will try and research more.

Hulababy Mon 29-Mar-04 11:03:36

Look here

This has the law about child seats, but on page 4 does talk about more passengers than seat belts - not illegal, but not safe!

PipBeckett Mon 29-Mar-04 11:05:50

It's something that sickens me to. My ds1 is the first to tell me if I forget to fasten his seatbelt. I hate seeing children standing up on the back seat and looking out of the window. I remember when I was about seven my parents had just fitted seatbelts to their car and a fortnight later we were involved in a pretty nasty car accident. They saved mine and my sisters lives and my mum had nightmares for ages afterwards and the what if's. It is the law to restrain your children. Why is no one enforcing it? The driver is responcible for everyone under the age of fourteen in their car. If an adult gets in my car and doesn't put their seatbelt on, I insist that they do or else we don't go anywhere.

Hulababy Mon 29-Mar-04 11:06:28

Infact I think most of this site is really useful:


It is all about child car saefty - may go and put this on a spearate thread as it has loads of really useful info and advice.

marialuisa Mon 29-Mar-04 11:15:27

Even as someone who uses taxis and accepts lifts in cars without carseats that seems ridiculous!

i'm currently trying to find out the situation with carseats/booster seats in the US and not having alot of joy so if anyone knows a website, please post!

Hulababy Mon 29-Mar-04 11:18:57

Try here marialusia

august24 Mon 29-Mar-04 11:32:59

In the USA there are very strict laws about children and car seats. I have been shocked at what is allowed here, and what people do with their children. I have seen kids packed into cars here, children on the floor in the front seat. I feel like it is totally accepted here. In the states my friends(and me too) would never, ever allow our children to ride in the front seat nor would we allow any child under aged 5 to ride without a carseat. I wouldn't even suggest it, it is so taboo at this point. I am totally unimpressed with the car seats here and am planning on bringing ones back from my Easter Holidays for my children and dumping my UK ones because I do not think they are safe. Were I am from, Massachusetts, all children under 5 must be in car seats and all children under 12 must sit in the backseat and if you do not follow these rules you will be stopped a ticketed! Sorry for the rant but I was just shocked when I came here because Britax is the top of the line car seat in the states, costing 4 times the price of a regular carseat and I was sure that would be the case with ALL car seats here. I am surprised that car seats don't have chest buckles(in addition to the buckle between the legs) I find my daughter has wiggled out of her car seat most times in the car because of the lack of a chest buckle. Rant over!!!

marialuisa Mon 29-Mar-04 11:54:22

But surely the britax carseats in the US are the same as the britax ones here? We are having to take a Maclaren buggy over for our friends because they're twice the price in the US, very strange....

Thanks for the link hula, i'm not quite sure what one of the states we are visiting means. We were hoping to use a booster seat and adult belt but i'm not sure now. Aagh!

Are car seats cheap in the US? We only need the thing for 10 days but apparently our Britax seat would have to go in the hold and I'm not happy about that...

MrsGrump Mon 29-Mar-04 12:19:40

MLuisa: carseat law varies (a lot) state by state. You will literally have to go fishing on the Internet to get info about where you are going.
There are lots of threads (rants and outrage) on the very American newsgroups and email lists about kids not in carseats over in USA, too. Perhaps it is easier to get away with in Europe because the cultures here are generally more risk-tolerant, though.

Tissy Mon 29-Mar-04 12:45:57

august24, there are a lot of idiots in this country, but the laws are adequate, if only they were enforced properly.

I certainly wouldn't let a child *or an adult* ride in my car, in any seat, without a seatbelt. It is clear that seatbelts reduce fatalities in accidents, there is no question.

Britax seats in this country *are* good quality, but maybe they cost more in the US because they are imported?

If you have bought good quality seats, don't just throw them away and replace them with American ones. For a start, you have to be *sure* that they will fit your car correctly- an American seat may not fit a european car, so might be more dangerous. The Britax website will tell you whether the seat you have or are interested in will fit your car or not.

As for chest buckles- I queried this point with Britax, when my dd was going through a wriggly phase, and they said they weren't necessary if the harness is done up correctly, i.e. tightly enough. Sure enough, a bit tighter, and there is no way dd can get out.

august24 Mon 29-Mar-04 19:34:56

To clarify, I thought because Britax was so great that all carseats would be good here, and I was wrong. And I honestly think the britax ones in the states are better as they have the chest buckle. I disagree about having the belt tight enough, over a bulky winter coat there is only so tight you can go.

We purchased Mothercare as that was the easiest option(we lived near holloway road and it was the only place that had a car seat that would work in our car without ashoulder belts in the back seat iyswim) and I have regreted it! I want to bring over my daughter's booster seat that works with car seatbelts(shoulder belts now as we have a car with them). It is hard plastic and has three places for the seat belt to slot into so it will grow with her, as opposed to the one we have know that has no holder for the seat belt. I think the thing that drives me craziest about the car seats I have is how you have to line up the two different shaped things to be able to make the seat belt go click! I struggle with my younger daughter's car seat because of that and now that she is three she can move into a booster seat and I plan on getting the same as my older daughters. And just to keep this totally long, I don't plan on throwing mine out I will give them to who ever wants them, most likely my babysitter who is expecting a baby. Tissy thanks for the tip about the Britax site I will look that up.

marialuisa: car seats are very inexpensive, just looking up on there are a bunch of car seats for less then $30. At the current exchange rate that is not bad! Or else in some cities you can rent them, and if you are renting a car most car rental companies rent them. Or else if you are visiting friends, maybe they could ask around and borrow one? I kept an extra ones for when I was transporting other kids in my car, and maybe your friends know of someone who does too.

Hulababy Mon 29-Mar-04 19:58:45

We have a Britax ISOFIX seat. It is the only universal ISOFIX seat on the market and it is fab. It fits so securely and really is one of the ost safest forms of fittings there is, and it removes all the worries of fitting correctly.

So far we have had NO problems over the harnesses with DD. She has never tried to get out of her harness (she is nearly 2) and TBH I don't think ti would be possible. However, DD never goes in the car wearing bulky clothes and coats - not needed in our car luckily, so no idea if that would make a difference or not.

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