Get help from your Road Safety Officer
There are Road Safety Officers in Essex, who are working to inform parents about safety issues relating to car seats. As part of that, they run a "try before you buy" service for children's car seats. At their Centre in Essex they now have 8 seats for group 1 that travel rearward to 18 or 25kg including BeSafe, Brio, Britax, Klippan and Recaro they are constantly researching to discover any other extended rear facing seats that they can add to their range, they reason that if the Centre has them, at least parents will know that they fit the car before they go to the expense of ordering them. The service is open on the first Friday of every month from 9.30 -15.00 By appointment only and is situated at Lubards Farm, Hullbridge Road, Rayleigh, Essex, SS6 9QG. You can reach the centre on 07720 097174 (leave a message on the answer machine if there isn't anyone available to take your call).
If you are a parent or indeed anyone who needs to carry children in cars you are welcome to the Centre on Fridays. The Centre carries a sample of all the seats that are currently on sale in the UK to try in parents' cars to determine the best and most secure seat for the child and car. They also give advice on existing seats, check the fit in the car and whether it is suitable for the child.
Suffolk County Council has a smaller set up than Essex. Their staff is just starting to learn about rear facing car seats, and they don't have any to try at the moment, although they are negotiating with manufacturers to get some in the near future.
However, they are happy to check car seat installations and run regular child car seat checks at Children's Centres, playgroups etc. throughout Suffolk, and are also happy to arrange visits to do checks or give a presentation on child car safety.
For more information, contact David Daw, Road Safety Officer (Education). Suffolk County Council, West Suffolk House, Western Way, Bury St- Edmunds, IP33 3YU. You can also call on 01284 758848, fax on 01284 352434 or visit the website
If you are in the car seat business, you can employ V&C consultants on a consultancy basis. Cathy and Vicky are trained Road Safety Officers with a deep understanding of child travel issues. They offer help, advice, and guidance to local authorities, health services, retail outlets or manufacturers who would like to buy in to their knowledge. They can help you set up Child Car Seat Checking Days, Training or, if anyone would like to set up a Centre of their own, they can assist with that as well. They obviously charge for their consultancy work so this service is aimed at the professional world rather than individuals. For contact please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the website. You can also phone for advice on 07837 709816 or 07875 154482
Does your council offer similar services? Please contact us so we can add the details to this page!