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New study shows: children’s safety in the car is not sufficient

A new Swedish study shows, that the number of children, who are not properly secured when travelling by car, is rising. The study was conducted during 2018 on behalf of BeSafe Sweden, Volkswagen and the Swedish insurance company If.

The results of the large-scale observation study, carried out by NTF (Swedish traffic safety organization) on behalf of BeSafe Sweden, Volkswagen and the Swedish insurance company IF, shows that especially small children are often not properly secured in the car. A total of 3.678 children in 3.263 cars at 325 pre-schools were documented in the course of this study.

The purpose of the study was to check if the Swedish safety recommendations for children in traffic are being followed by the parents. The results can be compared with a study of the same type, that was conducted by NTF in 2010 for the same purpose.

According to Swedish recommendations, children should travel in a rear facing car seat until the age of 4 years at a minimum. A child’s head is disproportionally heavy in relation to its body weight and their muscles in the neck area are not fully developed yet. Frontal crash tests show that the load on a child’s neck is five times larger when the child is travelling forward facing compared to rear facing.

THE STUDY SHOWS ALARMING RESULTS

“More and more one-year-olds are travelling forward facing – 12% in 2018 compared to 6% in 2010.”

The study shows that in 2018 only 17% of four-year-olds in Sweden were traveling rear facing. Even though this is a small improvement compared to the previous study, the reality is still very far from the Swedish recommendations for child car safety. The observations also showed an alarming trend when looking at the youngest: more and more one-year-olds are travelling forward facing – 12% in 2018 compared to 6% in 2010.

Another alarming finding from the study shows, that several children aged between 0 and 3 years were sitting in a baby car seat or rear facing toddler car seat that was installed on the passenger seat with an active airbag – a danger to life.

The study focused on several important areas, that affect children’s safety in the car, such as the use and installation of a child car seat. One out of ten child car seats was not installed correctly – which can also lead to a danger to life.

Sweden is still one of the countries in the world, where children travel safest by car. Nonetheless, the fact that recommendations (and regulations) are not followed to the extent they should, cannot be ignored.

“It doesn’t matter how safe a child car seat is, if it’s not installed and/or used properly. The trend is clearly visible – in too many cases, parents don’t just choose an insufficiently safe seat, but are even careless when using it.” Fredrik Stenbom, sales manager at BeSafe Sweden.

ABOUT THE STUDY

In the study, which was completed during 2018, observations were conducted in 66 out of Sweden’s 290 municipalities. These were spread out in all 21 counties. A total of 3.678 children in 3.263 cars at 325 pre-schools were documented in this study. The majority (79%) of these children were between 2 and 5 years old.

THE MOST IMPORTANT RESULTS AT A GLANCE

  • More and more children travel in forward facing car seats before the recommended age (min. 4 years) is reached. Many already at the age of 3.
  • Only 17% of the four-year-olds travelled rear facing according to Swedish recommendations.
  • The percentage of one-year-olds traveling forward facing has doubled (from 6% to 12%) since the last survey in 2010.
  • 2,5% of the children were not secured with a seat belt.8 children aged between 0 and 3 years were in a baby car seat or a rear facing toddler seat at the passenger seat with an active airbag.

OUR MISSION CONTINUES

We at BeSafe will now after the release of this study continue our work with spreading important information about child car safety. These statistics are not just an important wake up call for Sweden, but for many countries around the globe. Child safety in the car is an important topic – regardless the country – and should get more attention from press and media.

Rear facing is 5 times safer! Help us spread this important message, talk about the study and why it is so important to let children travel rear facing for as long as possible, but at least until the age of 4. All children deserve the best conditions for safe journeys.

Do you want to know more? Read a summary of the study here >>

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