HC Deb 27 March 1968 vol 761 cc1511-2
9. Mr. Gwilym Roberts

asked the Minister of Transport what steps her Department is taking to encourage drivers to carry children in the rear seats of cars and to develop and extend the use of rear-seat harnesses for children.

The Minister of Transport (Mrs. Barbara Castle)

I am including special publicity on television about this in my road safety campaign for this summer. I am also considering how best it can be emphasised more widely as part of our efforts to reduce accidents, particularly to children.

Mr. Roberts

Would my right hon. Friend accept that, while the House welcomes this, 70 per cent. of serious accidents could have been avoided by the use of children's harness in rear seats, which is now available, and that this is a matter of urgency? Is she aware that some countries, like Italy, are introducing legislation to prevent children from being carried in the front seats of cars?

Mrs. Castle

I am well aware of the risks which parents take with their children's lives in the practice of having the children in the front seats—sometimes even a baby on a mother's lap. I am very anxious to discourage this. This is why we are making a special feature of this matter in the publicity campaign which we will launch on a wide scale this summer.