Child car seats have more germs than toilet seatsE. coli and salmonella found on car seats in tests

27 August 2014

Baby in a car seat

Potentially dangerous germs found on child car seats

Child car seats have more than twice as many germs as the average toilet seat, a new study has found.

Scientists have tested child car seats and found more than 100 bacteria per square centimetre, compared to 10-50 bacteria per square centimetre on toilet seats, handles and lids.

E. coli and salmonella were among the germs found during the study, which was carried out by the University of Birmingham. 

Which? tests reveals how easy car seats are to keep clean. Our reviews tell you how simple the covers are to remove and whether they need machine or hand washing. See which are the safest and cleanest seats for your child by checking out our Best Buy child car seats

Safe child car seats

Germs are far from the only thing you need to worry about when it comes to child car seats. In a recent Which? undercover investigation of car seat retailers, we found serious failings in the advice they gave on fitting seats.

We visited 42 shops across the UK, including John Lewis, Mamas and Papas and Mothercare, and asked each one to fit two different car seats in a standard family car. A shocking 90% of stores failed to fit both seats correctly. See the results in full by reading our car seats investigation.

Our reviews will help you choose a seat that's easy to keep clean. We'll tell you if the covers are easy to remove and whether they're machine washable, or whether you'll have to wash them by hand.

You can find out how to keep your child safe with our video guide to fitting a child car seat correctly.


Best child car seat

Recent Which? testing has uncovered the best child car seat we've ever seen. This seat earned five-star ratings for both frontal crash protection and side crash protection and received an overall score of 87%, which is higher than any other car seat we've tested. 

Read the full review of this top-scoring model and discover all of our Best Buy car seats by heading over to our child car seat reviews section.  

Child car seats to avoid

Which? believes that the European regulation for car seats is not rigorous enough, so we carry out our own, more demanding crash tests for child car seats.

Although every car seat we test has passed the minimum legal requirement, our more thorough testing has revealed several seats that we don't believe offer good protection.

To find out which car seats we recommend you avoid, see our full list of Don't Buy child car seats.

More on this...

  • Check out our top 10 child car seats
  • How Which? testing helps to make child car seats safer
  • Buy the best pushchair with the help of our pushchair reviews