New law on child safety in carsSmoking ban joins car seat laws to protect kids

01 October 2015

Smoking ban

A new law bans smoking in cars with children present

It is now illegal to smoke in a car or other vehicle carrying anyone under 18. 

The law came into force on 1 October 2015. Public health campaigners welcomed the introduction of the law, pointing to the significant impact that smoke in cars can have on children. 

Passive smoking increases the risk of asthma, meningitis, and cot death, and the concentration of toxins in cars is at about 100 times recommended safety guidelines – that’s with the windows down.

The Royal College of Physicians estimates that more than 300,000 children in the UK visit a GP each year with complaints attributable to passive smoking.

Non-compliance with the law – both on the part of the driver and the smoking passenger – could result in a £50 fine. 

But Which? has found that some parents are putting themselves at risk of a fine of up to £500 every day in their cars by failing to comply with the law on child car seats.

Child car seat laws

UK law states that you must use an appropriate child restraining system (child car seat) when carrying all children up to 135cm/4ft 5 in (approximately 10 years for boys, 12 years for girls).

But when we surveyed more than 1400 parents, only 7% were able to identify the age and height correctly.

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 1% of parents with a one to five year old are not using a car seat in their car at all.

Child car seat reviews

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.

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

Find a safe car seat for your baby or child in our Best Buy child car seats.

Find out more about how we test child car seats.

For a clear and concise guide to the key things you need to know about child car seat laws, you can use our infographic below, and read all about child car seat laws in our guide.

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