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New research shows 10% of children do not wear seatbelts while travelling on Irish roads

Gardaí have warned motorists to safeguard everyone who gets into a vehicle.

THE ROAD SAFETY Authority (RSA) and gardaí have appealed to parents as new research showed how 10% of children travelling in vehicles were not using proper restraints such as child car seats or seat belts.

Last year. the RSA conducted a nationwide study that observed seatbelt usage by 3,861 children both in the front and the rear seats of the vehicle.

As part of that particular study, 93% of children were wearing seatbelts. However, when observing children in the rear of the vehicle only, the number dropped to 89%.

According to the RSA, the figures show that some parents are still allowing their children to travel in cars without being securely buckled in.

Transport Minister Shane Ross urged parents to make sure their children are safe when they are in a car.

“With children returning to school over the coming weeks, traffic levels will increase, and motorists need to be mindful of our most vulnerable road users. I am asking parents to ensure any child travelling in their vehicle is using their seatbelt or the correct child restraint, and to educate children to be vigilant when out walking or cycling to school.”

The RSA’s chairperson, Liz O’Donnell, said that the latest stats are “very worrying”.

She added: “This is very worrying especially when you consider that the most dangerous thing a child does each day is travel as a passenger in a car. A child cannot be responsible for their own safety.

It’s up to us as responsible adults to do the right thing to ensure their safety. Every child travelling in a car must use a child car seat or wear a seatbelt. I am urging parents to ensure that children are safely and securely restrained, even on the shortest trip.

Assistant Garda Commissioner David Sheahan, of the National Roads Policing Unit, said: the non-wearing of seatbelts by children under 17 is not only against the law but is extremely dangerous.

“We continue to see fatalities where a vehicle occupant was not wearing a seatbelt and therefore had no protection in a collision. By law, all children under 150cms in height or 36kgs in weight must use a child restraint system (CRS) suitable for their height and weight while travelling in a car.”

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