ARE you sitting safely?

Hundreds of Hampshire drivers are unaware of new regulations concerning children’s car seats.

A freedom of information request made to Hampshire Constabulary has shown that more than 392 child seatbelt offences were recorded in the county between 2013 and 2015 while nationally 66 per cent of parents do not know the current laws.

Information obtained by the BBC also found about 40,000 people in the UK have been caught since the law was changed in 2006 requiring all children under 135cm tall to have a booster seat, including 830 in Hampshire.

The findings come ahead of new child booster seat laws, expected early next year, which could mean than any child under 135cm in height must travel in a car seat with a back.

Research by car insurance comparison site also found that more than a third (34 per cent) of parents admitted allowing a small child to travel without a booster seat.

Amanda Stretton, motoring eExpert at said: “Given parents’ confusion about the current car seat regulations, the new rules about backless booster seats will make it even trickier for parents to understand how to keep their children safe.

“The fact that backless car seats will still be acceptable to use if they were bought before the law change sends mixed safety messages.”

David Nichols, community engagement manager at Brake, the road safety charity, said: “Strict safety standards are in place around child car seats for a reason – in the event of a crash, a sub-standard seat provides a far greater risk of death or injury.”

“It is concerning to hear that so many people in Hampshire have put their children at risk by not providing them with a properly fitted car seat.

The 392 seatbelt offences in Hampshire included travelling in a car without a seatbelt, and having an incorrectly fitted seatbelt.