Which? urges parents to replace Kiddicare Maxi SP child car seatKiddicare offers to exchange Don't Buy car seat

31 May 2013

Kiddicare Maxi SP product

Which? is recommending that parents replace their Kiddicare Maxi SP Group 0/1/2 child car seat after it achieved the lowest possible score in our car seat test.

To find out which child car seats have passed our tests with flying colours visit our guide to Best Buy child car seats.

Kiddicare Maxi SP – Don’t Buy

The Kiddicare Maxi SP is a popular and cheap child car seat, designed to last children from birth (as a rearward-facing infant carrier) to 25kg (approximately six years old). 

Although it has passed the legal safety standards for child car seats (ECE R44/04), we found that it scored just 0% overall in our more demanding crash tests. These include a side impact crash that's not part of  ECE R44/04.

The version of the Kiddicare Maxi SP that we tested is no longer on sale, but we recommend that anyone who already owns one of these car seats replaces it as soon as possible.

Read our full review of the Kiddicare Maxi SP for more on why this car seat did so badly in our tests.

The Which? child car seats test

We test child car seats in front and side impact crash simulations. Both tests are developed from Euro NCAP crash test loads, which are based on typical real-life crashes.

Our results indicate that a child using the Maxi SP would be at risk of serious injury in the crashes we simulated. Other car seats that we've tested, particularly our Best Buys, do a better job of restraining a child and reducing the loads placed on a child's body in a crash.

Kiddicare Maxi SP poor belt routing

The seatbelt should not be across the neck and tummy

Poor seat belt routing

The Maxi SP can be used in three different ways. 

As a rear-facing Group 0 for children up to 10kg it scores 56%. 

As a forward-facing Group 1 for children of 9-18kg it scores only 36% because of poor front and side impact results. 

The biggest cause for concern is the position of the adult seat belt when the seat is used for older children. A Group 2 child car seat should hold an older child in place with the adult seat belt across the pelvis and across the shoulder. 

But the Kiddicare Maxi SP routes the adult seat belt through the seat, so that the force of a crash is absorbed by the neck and tummy (shown in this picture from our ease of use test). This is an unacceptable outcome in our tests, resulting in a very poor rating for front and side impacts, and leading to a score of 0% for Group 2. 

We also found that it is easy to fit the seat incorrectly, which can prevent the seat from providing the protection it should in an accident.

Because the seat can be used in three different ways, and we expect that parents will use the seat in all three of them, the overall Which? test score is limited to the lowest score that the seat achieved. So the overall score is limited to 0%.

Kiddicare offers to refund or exchange

Which? is pleased to see that Kiddicare has responded to the results of our tests and is offering a solution to parents who already own the Maxi SP.

Alex Fisher, Commercial Director at Kiddicare says: 'Kiddicare works closely with its own brand manufacturers to develop and improve its products. All Kiddicare car seats meet the official and current ECE R44/04 European safety standard, however, we recognise that customers may be concerned by the Which? test findings. 

'Therefore, Kiddicare will be happy to exchange any Kiddicare Maxi SP car seat for an alternative Kiddicare own brand car seat, or provide the customer with a credit or refund, either in-store or via our central customer care team.'

Parents who own the Maxi SP car seat should note that any ECE R44/04 approved child car seat is better than no car seat at all and that they should continue to use the Maxi SP until finding a suitable replacement.

More on this...

  • Child car seat reviews - over 100 child car seats on test
  • Don't Buy car seats - the seats that don't impress in our tough test
  • Buying a child car seat? - all the advice you need