Search icon


06th Jul 2012

Penalty Points for Parents with Poorly-Fitted Car Seats

A top medical expert has called for the Government to impose penalty points on parents who have poorly-fitted child car seats in their vehicles.


We all know that when you have children, car seats are essential and now a top medical expert has called for penalty points to be imposed on parents who do not use them.

The Irish Daily Mail reports that Professor Ronan O’Sullivan, the head of paediatrics at UCD and the director of the Paediatric Emergency Research Unit, has said that penalty points should be given to parents who do not use car seats and to parents who have poorly fitted car seats in their vehicles.

According to reports, 3 out of every 4 car seats are fitted incorrectly, thus leaving children at risk of death or serious injury.

Speaking about the issue, Professor O’Sullivan said that while we are one of the highest users of child car seats in Europe, “we still need to up our game.”

A report from the Road Safety Authority revealed that between 1997 and 2009, 30 per cent of the children who were killed on Irish roads were car passengers, and, more importantly, they were not wearing a seatbelt or restrained properly.

Professor O’Sullivan believes that in order to ensure that the proper child safety measures are carried out when driving, the Government should consider imposing penalty points on parents who do not take the proper precautions when they have children in the car with them.

“Some parents still don’t do what they should,” said Professor O’Sullivan.

“We all want a positive outcome to saving lives and preventing injury, and the age-old argument of the carrot verses the stick comes into play, so the threat of penalties – although it is punitive – could bring about a positive message,” he added.

The Professor also stated that the Government should also be willing to ease the financial burden for parents when it comes to buying child car seats and other safety restraints.

“We are only scratching the surface to the numbers of children who are injured by not wearing the right car harness or car seat,” said Professor O’Sullivan.

“Many are not reported to the gardaí and there is no direct way within the health system to allow us to correlate such figures. In my time working as a consultant, I’ve seen some awful cases involving children in cars. Children are obviously more vulnerable in any type of collision,” he added.

Do you think introducing penalty points for parents who have poorly-fitted car seats is a good idea? Do you think it will encourage people to be more aware of their children’s safety?