Medway Council in Kent has found that around 800 Medway school children have admitted to not wearing a seatbelt on short car journeys.
Medway Council’s Road Safety Team toured schools in the area as part of an annual road safety awareness campaign.
Children who said they did not wear a seatbelt when travelling short distances said they did not think it was necessary.
The council team visited 20 Medway schools which had approximately 1,600 children attending and demonstrated the real life impact and dangers of a road collision in a controlled environment, using a “seatbelt sled”.
The schoolchildren aged 9-11 years old were each given the opportunity of climbing aboard the sled and experiencing what it feels like to be in a crash, highlighting the important role of a seatbelt in protecting them from injury in a road traffic accident.
The council said that, by the end of each session, the children understood the need to wear a seatbelt – no matter the length or speed of the journey.
Medway Council advises that it is also important for parents and carers to make sure they have the appropriate car seat for their child.
UK law states children must use a child car seat until they are 12-years-old or 135 centimetres tall – anyone who is 12-years-old or taller than 135cm must wear a seatbelt.
The council said that the recent Medway school tour was just a small part of the road safety team’s work, as they regularly meet with groups and residents of all ages to educate them on road safety – as well as promoting road safety advice through local and national road safety campaigns.
Portfolio Holder for Front Line Services overseeing travel safety, Councillor Phil Filmer said:
“It is important to educate children about road safety from a young age – the council’s road safety team carries out work throughout the year to ensure the people of Medway stay safe on the roads.
“I would encourage parents to ensure their child is appropriately buckled up before starting their journey – if you’re involved in a crash, it could help prevent injury and even save a child’s life.”
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