Child safety week - Don't Buy car seatThe lowest Which? test score of any child car seat
20 June 2012
With child safety week in full swing, we've just released our latest batch of child car seat test results - and uncovered the lowest scoring child car seat we’ve ever recorded.
Easycarseat Inflatable – Don’t Buy
The Easycarseat Inflatable is the first inflatable seat we’ve tested and it has received the lowest score of any child car seat – just 7% - making it an instant Don’t Buy.
Due to its poor performance in the unique Which? safety tests we recommend that anyone who owns one of these car seats replace it as soon as possible.
The Easycarseat Inflatable is a group 2/3 high-back booster seat designed to carry a child weighing between 15 and 36kg (around 4 to 12 year-olds).
Priced at £57 it is one of the cheapest of the child car seats we have tested. It can be deflated and packed away when not in use, so may sound appealing if you're going on holiday, but its failure to protect a child in both front and side crashes means it should be avoided.
Read our full review of the Easycarseat Inflatable and reviews of over 100 other child car seats
The Which? tests
We test child car seats in front and side impact crash simulations. Both tests are based on Euro NCAP crash test loads, which are derived from typical real-life crashes in which we expect cars to protect adults. We strongly believe children should be afforded the same level of crash protection as adults.
The Easycarseat Inflatable achieved the lowest possible scores for both tests and received the worst total test score of any car seat we’ve tested. Our crash tests revealed that the child is exposed to unacceptably high loads in both front and side crashes. A child using this seat would be at risk of serious injury in the crashes we simulated - our tests show that better seats will protect the child effectively in these instances.
Risk of being underinflated
We also test all child car seats for ease of use, with both expert and novice users fitting the seats and strapping real children in place. When the novices do it, they are observed by our experts. The Easycarseat Inflatable is fairly easy to fit, but a fundamental flaw in its design: it has a pressure valve, designed to blow' when the recommended pressure is reached. This means it could end up underinflated in real-life use.
The valve could blow as the child’s weight bears down on it, or pressure could increase if the temperature in the car rises - expanding the air in the seat – then, when the temperature falls, the pressure would decrease making the seat underinflated.
Our findings for this seat mean we strongly recommend you Don't Buy one. If you already own one, urgently think about buying a better seat, but don't stop using it until you've bought a new one - after all, any seat is better than no seat at all.