Could you be facing a car seat fine? 76% of parents unaware of current car seats laws

04 July 2015

Parents could be leaving themselves open to large fines for not knowing the current child car seats laws, a recent Which? survey has discovered.

Current UK law states that children must use a child car seat until they are 12 years old, or 135cm tall, whichever comes first – but when we surveyed more than 1400 parents, only 7% were able to identify the age and height correctly. 

Car seat laws

The fine for not using the correct child car seat, if caught, is a fixed-rate penalty of £100, up to £500 if the matter goes to court.

Our survey also revealed that one in five (18%) of parents fail to use any car seat for their children ages six to 10 years old and, shockingly, 1% of parents with a one to five year are not using a car seat in their car – both of which are illegal – and unsafe.

Avoid a fine and keep your children safe – get a Best Buy baby or child car seat 

When do I turn my baby forward-facing? 

A quarter of parents are also potentially exposing their babies to a higher risk of serious injury, by falsely believing that they should swap their car seat when their child turns one. 26% of parents we surveyed didn't know when to change car seats.

Our advice is to keep your baby in their rearward-facing car seat for as long as possible – until they reach the weight limit (usually 13kg for a Group 0+ car seat), or they get too tall for the seat and the crown of their head comes above the protective shell. 

Not only is keeping your child rearward-facing safer, it also means you can delay spending money on a new seat until they've fully grown out of the first seat. 

A properly fitted car seat could save your child's life. Find out why you need a child car seat

Car seat reviews

We've reviewed more than 130 child car seats – from baby car seats to toddler group 1 seats, and group 2/3 car seats designed for older children. 

We've also tested a range of extended rear-facing car seats, designed to keep your children safer for longer. 

Find out which ones we rate as the best and worst rear-facing car seats for older children.

Which? crash tests child car seats in two, specially designed crash scenarios. Our independent crash tests are severe and our experts feel they more accurately reflect what happens in real crashes more-so than the legal minimum standards.

Find out more about how we test and what makes a Best Buy car seat

More on this...

  • Car seat laws – what seat you should be using to avoid a fine
  • i-Size – everything you need to know about the new regulations
  • 10 best travel systems – find the best travel system to fit your car seat