The Road Safety Authority (RSA) in Ireland has revealed that one in 10 children travelling in the back seat of vehicles are not using proper restraints such as child car seats or seat belts.

And, as the start of the new school term nears, RSA and An Garda Síochána are appealing for parents to ensure their children are travelling safely.

“With children returning to school over the coming weeks, traffic levels will increase, and motorists need to be mindful of our most vulnerable road users,” said Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Shane Ross. “I am asking parents to ensure any child travelling in their vehicle is using their seatbelt or the correct child restraint, and to educate children to be vigilant when out walking or cycling to school. It’s important to ensure they have all the correct safety gear; high-visibility jackets, lights and helmets for doing so and I must commend ESB Networks and the RSA for providing free high visibility jackets to all children starting primary school.”

In addition to the “seatbelt safety” message, the RSA is reminding parents to ensure their child is visible when walking or cycling on the roads, or when waiting for the school bus.

For the eighth year running, the RSA and ESB Networks is distributing free high visibility vests to every child starting school in September. To date, this partnership has provided 880,000 children throughout the country with high visibility vests.

The RSA observational study observed seatbelt usage by 3,861 children both in the front and the rear seats of the vehicle. As part of the study, 93 percent of children were observed wearing seatbelts, however when observing children in the rear of the vehicle only, compliance dropped to 89 percent.