Correctly-fitted car seat saved toddler's life, say firefighters

Firefighters say a one-year-old boy rescued from a vehicle which flipped over southbound about a mile from junction ten on the motorway just after 5pm may not have survived if the car seat he was in had not been installed properly.

A passenger was able to remove himself and the child, both of whom were uninjured.

Two Banbury crews and another from Deddington worked to extract the driver of the Fiat Punto by removing the vehicle's doors and roof and releasing her using a spine board. She was subsequently treated by trauma-trained firefighters. A passing doctor assisted before an ambulance arrived.

Both the passenger and the driver were also wearing seatbelts.

Tests show that when a car crashes at just 30mph, a child passenger will be thrown forward by a force of up to 60 times their body weight, potentially seriously injuring or killing them or other occupants of the vehicle.

Important safety advice

Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue Service is urging those travelling with children in their vehicles to ensure youngsters are restrained correctly. Some car seats are unsuitable for some vehicle models.

Many specialist retailers provide expert advice and information when people purchase a seat and some offer a fitting service, which should ensure:

  • That the chosen seat is compatible with a particular vehicle
  • That it is fitted properly
  • That it is suited for a child's height and weight

Trained staff can also advise motorists whether particular types of car are capable of taking the newest and safest form of car seat - ISOFIX - which is a fitting system that does not use the car's seat-belt.

Result could have been very different

Incident Commander Kerry Blair, Oxfordshire County Council Fire and Rescue Service's Fire Risk Manager for West Oxfordshire and Cherwell, said: "This collision could have had a fatal outcome if all of the vehicle's occupants were not wearing seatbelts. Children are particularly vulnerable in road traffic collisions and if the child seat in question had not been fitted correctly on this occasion then things could have been very different,

"This incident should act as a reminder to everybody, regardless of the length of a journey, that it is absolutely essential to wear a seatbelt and ensure that a child's car seat is correctly fitted. People could risk serious injury or even death if they act against this advice.

"Children can be thrown forward at great force during a road traffic collision, which could seriously injure or kill them or other passengers.”

"Many retailers offer a car seat fitting service and I cannot recommend highly enough to people that they should take advantage of such a service."

This advice is being issued as part of 365alive, an Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue Service initiative designed to create a safer community via education and preventative work.