Which? issues bank holiday car seat warningCheck your car seat is safe

29 April 2015

Backless child's booster seat

Which? is warning of the dangers of using a backless booster car seat

Is your child travelling on a booster cushion in your car this bank holiday? These seats could expose your little one to serious injury in the event of a crash due to the lack of side protection.  

A Which? survey of 1,000 parents found that 30% of three to 10-year-old children use backless booster cushions when travelling in the car. 

These seats are cheap, and meet legal requirements, but Which? warns against using them as our tests have found they offer much less protection than full-sized, high backed booster child car seats. 

UK law states that all children must use a child car seat until they're 12 years old or 135cm tall, whichever comes first.

Find a Best Buy car seat for your child in our child car seats reviews

Booster cushion dangers: watch our video

Our crash test video footage shows what happens to a dummy during a crash when using a backless booster seat versus a high-backed booster seat:

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Our tests have shown that a booster cushion is not as safe as car seats with full-length back and 'wings', which provide extra protection for the head and chest in a side-impact crash, so Which? does not recommend backless booster seats and cushions.

A backless booster cushion will raise a child's body to a height suitable for use with the adult seat belt, but the lack of side protection could put your child at serious risk of injury in the event of a crash.

Unsafe child car seats

Worryingly, our Which? survey also revealed that one in ten (11%) of parents thought a backless booster seat offered the same crash protection as a high-backed booster seat, while a further 28% didn't know. Indicating that some parents are still completely unaware that their children aren't as safe as they could be when travelling in a car.

Head to our guide on backless booster seats for more information on why we advise against them.

Check your car seat today

Which? is urging parents and carers to check the car seat they have today. 

It is better to use a backless booster seat than no child car seat at all, but the sooner you can replace a backless booster seat for a high-backed booster seat the better.

We'd also recommend that parents check their car seats are fitted correctly before travelling. 

To help, we have a handy downloadable checklist showing 10 quick car seat checks parents can make themselves.

Which? Child car seat reviews

Our child car seat testing reveals big differences between child car seats. Some protect babies and children well, but others expose them to the risk of serious injury or even death.

Which? is the only child car seat review website that actually tests child car seats in two crash simulations: a front crash, equivalent to a head-on collision at around 40mph, and a side crash.

Please remember, it is better to use a backless booster seat than no child car seat at all, but if you currently use one we'd advise you to change it for a full-size child seat as soon as possible, especially if you're travelling long distances this bank holiday.

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