Child car seats: How to buy a child car seat Which? Retailer Best Practice Charter
Retailers sign up to our Best Practice charter
In October 2011, we revealed the results of our extensive undercover investigation into child car seat advice being offered by retailers, The results made for difficult and worrying reading. Many of the 43 high street and independent stores we visited across the UK failed to give us accurate advice, and half the shops failed to install seats correctly.
After publishing our results, we went back to talk to each of the big retail chains about the results in detail, asking them what they were planning to do to improve their service to parents and children.
Four of the six major chains we judged to have offered poor advice to parents in our child car seat investigation have signed up to our retailer best-practice charter in 2011.
Child Car Seat Best Practice Charter
We gave detailed feedback to each retailer and created a 10-point retailer best-practice charter. This covers the 10 areas we believe are critical for every trained assistant to know before selling a child car seat to the customer. And we’ve been consulting with these retailers about using our charter at their stores.
Of the six major retailers we spoke to, five have signed up so far. Babies R Us, Mothercare, John Lewis and Mamas & Papas signed in 2011 and Halfords penned the charter in 2012.
Our investigation has had a big impact with these retailers, with some already conducting reviews of their car seat fitting services as a direct result. For instance, Mamas & Papas has conducted its own mystery shopping investigations at its stores and promised to make big changes to how the firm trains its staff.
Bira (British Independent Retailers Association) has endorsed the charter and plans to promote it to its members.
Follow this link to download and view details of the 10-point best practice charter they've all signed up to.
Tesco declines to sign
Tesco has not signed up, although it lacks a national car seat fitting service. Until it offers this, our advice is not to buy a car seat from a Tesco store unless you have already sought professional fitting advice elsewhere (from a local authority road safety officer, for example).
We intend to contact as many independent retailers as we can to find out their willingness to work to the same promises laid out in our charter.
Better car seat advice
We’re delighted by the positive response by many retailers to our investigation, and Which? will be working closely with them as they roll out our charter to all staff who advise on child car seats. We'll bring you updates on progress. But this is not the end.
We plan to follow up in the coming months to see how well each retailer delivers on its promise.
We’re also looking at how we can help retailers to share information about fitting problems with particular makes and models of seat, to help improve the recommendations made to parents.
Give us your feedback
If you have any feedback on any of the retailers we’ve been talking to, please let us know about it at firstname.lastname@example.org