Step Into Christmas Elton John
A campaign has been launched in Portsmouth to help make sure child car seats are safe.
The Portsmouth City Council campaign includes free safety checks at which parents and carers can get their child seats inspected by experts.
The council has also drawn up a checklist of safety points to consider before buying a seat.
The campaign is running because council road safety officers regularly find around 90% of car seats fail their safety checks.
Most seats that fail the checks are fitted incorrectly, but many are not right for the model of car.
Road safety co-ordinator Nicola Waight said:
"Children are still killed in car accidents because they're not properly restrained.
"In a crash at 30mph, a child's body can be thrown forward with a force 40 to 60 times its own weight.
"The best way to protect children is by putting them in a properly fitted seat, appropriate for their weight and size."
For more information and advice, parents and carers can call the council on (023) 9268 8262 or go to the council's website www.portsmouth.gov.uk and search for 'Child car seats'.
By completing a quick online survey, parents and carers can also get the chance to win a £50 baby store voucher.
The free car-seat checks run 10am-3.30pm as follows:
* 5 May: Sainsbury's, Commercial Road
* 2 June: Tesco, North Harbour
* 2 July: B&Q, Pompey Centre
* 17 August: Gunwharf Quays car park
* 1 September: Sainsbury's, Farlington
* 6 October: Asda, Fratton
The council's advice is to never buy a second-hand seat, as it may have been in a crash. Seats have a lifespan of three to five years and should never be stored in a loft or conservatory.
CHECKLIST: What to ask when you buy a seat
1. Is this seat appropriate for the height and weight of my child?
(Seats come in three stages and can be rear or forward facing - check the stage your child needs on www.childseatsafety.org.uk)
2. Will this seat fit my car?
(Not all seats fit all cars. You can use the fit finders at www.portsmouth.gov.uk - search 'child car seats' to check which seats are suitable for your car's make and model.)
3. Does this seat have the ECE R44.04 safety mark?
4. Does it have clear and simple instructions?
5. Are the shop's fitting staff trained and experienced?
(Not all stores offer a fitting service. You are four times more likely to have a correctly fitted seat if the retailer helps you to fit the seat when you buy it.)