By Rob Knight

Scores of parents are cutting corners on safety when driving with their kids, according to a study.

The research of 2,000 mums and dads found 34 per cent have allowed their children to travel WITHOUT a suitable child restraint.

And around 37 per cent have driven with someone else’s child as a passenger despite not having a suitable child seat for them.

Worryingly, it also emerged one in 10 have, or would travel a short distance, without their child or children safely secured in the vehicle.

Shockingly, 16 per cent revealed their little ones have travelled while sat in the BOOT and more than one fifth have perched them on a cushion instead of a suitable car seat.

The study also found 32 per cent have driven with their children sat on someone’s lap and 20 per cent have ‘squeezed’ their kids into a backseat containing four or more passengers.

Commissioned by mifold (corr), a grab-and-go portable child restraint, the study also found ‘pester power’ is one of key the reasons why parents don’t always take in-car safety into account.

Other factors include not having access to suitable child car seat and a lack of understanding of the rules and regulations of travelling with kids in road vehicles.

Father-of-four, Jon Sumroy, who invented mifold, said: “There’s certainly confusion among parents about what’s required to keep their children safe.

“A car seat belt chest strap must lie on the clavicle (collar bone), over the edge of the shoulder and the lap belt should rest on the bones of the hips.

“When a child is too small for a seat belt, as is the case before they are 135cm tall, it can cut into their face or neck and ride up onto their soft stomach – this is incredibly dangerous in the event of a collision.”

It also emerged one in four parents didn’t know it’s potentially dangerous for kids to use a standard seat belt without a suitable child restraint – even in the back of the car.

Furthermore, more than half didn’t know kids could slide under a seatbelt in the event of a crash – if the lap strap is too high over the abdomen.

The research also found a whopping 85 per cent of parents believe the Government should do more to raise awareness of the dos and don’ts of in-car safety

Amid this, 27 per cent fear they have inadvertently broken regulations relating to travelling with children in vehicles and 54 per cent worry they might in the future and not know it.

Despite this, 38 per cent said they believe there may have been times when others have driven their kids somewhere and broken car safety laws without realising it.

A spokesman for road safety charity, Brake, which has partnered with mifold, said: “Child safety is paramount and too many children are being affected by road crashes, devastating families and ruining lives.

“Parents need to take responsibility for keeping their children safe, whether in their own car or in vehicles driven by other family members or childcare providers, by using appropriate restraints at all times.”

Carried out through OnePoll.com, the survey also found that four in 10 have had to lug around a child car seat on the off-chance they might need one for their little ones.

Perhaps eager to avoid carrying a seat around one fifth would allow their children to travel in a taxi without being strapped in and one in 10 would do the same if travelling overnight.

Jon Sumroy added: “I invented mifold which is an incredibly compact child restraint, when I realised my own children were being put at risk in frequent car sharing.

“It became more and more difficult to ensure they were safely seated in a car that could not accommodate more than two high back seats.

“I wanted to find a safe, practical and portable solution that would keep my kids safe no matter whose car they were in.

“Mifold is for those scenarios where children might have to travel using the standard car seat belt, such as unexpected quick trips in secondary cars, using hire cars, taxis, car sharing or on playdates with friends.”

For further information about mifold visit: www.askformifold.com

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