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Devon mother calls for car seat changes

Everly is able to open her own seatbelt. Photo: ITV West Country

A mother from Honiton in Devon says her daughter can unbuckle herself from her car seat which is putting her life at risk.

Mel Fordham bought the product for £250 in Taunton.

She says the manufacturer responded to her complaint by saying she must have a 'clever child'.

We were going down the dual carriageway, you know seventy miles per hour, and I just heard this massive scream. I managed to pull in and she'd obviously unbuckled herself and fallen. She had quite a nasty cut on the side of her head.

– Mel Fordham
Everly is able to climb out of her chair and sustained a cut on her head. Credit: ITV West Country

Mel says she now has to have someone travelling in the back of the car with daughter Everly or have her forward facing to keep an eye on her.

She says she's unable to make the seat safer herself.

In this country we're not allowed to have chest clips which go across here but in America it's illegal not to have one. But it just seems crazy to me that a one, two year old can literally just do that with two thumbs and release themselves from a car seat. It's mad, absolutely mad.

– Mel Fordham
Mel says she now need someone to sit in the car with Everly. Credit: ITV West Country

The manufacturer of the car seat, Joie, says car seat makers must follow strict guidelines when making car seats.

We sympathise with Mel. As many parents know, once a child has learnt to unbuckle their car seat it can be difficult to deter them.

Under UK law, all car seat manufacturers must set the strength of their restraints within strict parameters, between 40-80 newtons. These parameters exist to make sure emergency services can release a child quickly from their car seat in the event of an accident.

At Joie the safety and satisfaction of our customers is paramount and why we’ve been in touch with Mel to organise collection of her car seat to test the buckle and ensure it is working properly within these parameters.

– Joie

Mel says she hopes what's happened with Everly can protect other children.

It's bigger than Everly now. For me, as a mum, it's really scary - it's petrifying to think that you buy a product that you put your child in that's meant to be safe and it's not.

– Mel Fordham

Information on how to prevent your child from undoing their harness can be found on the RoSPA website.