A million children in unsafe child car seats Which? tests help you find the best child car seat

09 August 2012

Child car seat

Around one million children could be travelling in unsafe car seats that have been bought second-hand or fitted incorrectly, new research reveals.

Half a million drivers have bought a second-hand car seat and another half a million have travelled with a child in an incorrectly fitted car seat over the last year, according to research from Sainsbury's Bank.

Which? child car seat researcher Victoria Pearson says: 'Although buying baby equipment second-hand can save you lots of money, the bargain simply isn't worth it if it puts your child's safety at risk.

'We strongly advise you not to buy a second-hand child car seat. A used car seat may have been in a crash and even if you can't see any signs of it, this will have weakened the seat. It may not be supplied with the original instructions either, which contain vital advice on fitting the car seat correctly so it provides optimum protection.'

Which? crash tests

At Which? we take the subject of child car seats very seriously - our independent crash tests are the best in Europe and more stringent than official tests. 

To become a Best Buy, a car seat must protect the child in severe front and side crashes and must have no major weaknesses - such as being difficult to install correctly - that might lead to it not protecting your child properly in a crash.

If you need to buy a new child car seat, find out which ones we recommend in our child car seat reviews, which include 12 Best Buys and 10 Don't Buys.

Buying second hand baby equipment

Sales of second-hand child car seats could be on the rise. Sainsbury's Bank found 453 used child car seats for sale on Ebay compared to 131 when it conducted similar research in 2009.

To find out more about what you can safely buy second-hand for your baby, check out the Which? guide to buying second-hand baby equipment, which also includes advice on the best places to buy.

Which? research has also found serious issues with child car seat fitting. When Which? investigated child car seat fitting in shops, we found that vital questions weren’t asked, important advice wasn't given and only seven out of 35 stores installed the seats correctly. So it's perhaps not surprising that there are so many poorly fitted seats.

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