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Warning over safety of some child car seats

Four fail our latest round of tests


Which? Online is urging parents not to buy four child car seats that have failed our latest round of safety tests.

We’re warning people not to assume a car seat will protect a child in a crash because it has reached the minimum safety standard and is on sale in the UK.

Video footage of our tests shows the potentially devastating effects of a crash on some child car seats.

Our car seat tests include a side impact crash. Most cars are safety rated for the protection they give adults in such a crash, but child car seats, inexplicably, are not legally required to undergo a side impact test.

‘Don’t Buys’

The four child car seats deemed ‘Don’t Buys’ are:

  • The Little Shield Combi 123, the worst seat on test. It uses a nylon strap with stud fixing which isn’t strong enough to contain the forces of a severe accident. It’s made from expanded polystyrene and offers no protection from side impacts.
  • Chicco Max 3-S uses the adult seat belt for a 9kg child (around nine months old) which means that instead of sitting on the shoulder, the adult belt rests on the neck of the child and thus could cause severe injuries.
  • Mamas & Papas Pro-Tour offers no protection for older children in a side crash, because it recommends removing the backrest for children over 15kg. Therefore there is nothing to stop the child’s head being injured in a side impact.
  • Recaro Start also uses the adult seat belt for a 9kg child, which means they’re improperly restrained in a crash and the sudden deceleration caused by a serious frontal crash could result in neck or abdomen injuries for such a small child.

The good news is that there are plenty of safe, secure child seats on the market and we have awarded twelve Best Buy status.

‘Shockingly bad’

Which? Online Editor Malcolm Coles said: ‘It’s important to stress that any child seat is better than no seat at all, but some of the seats we’ve tested are shockingly bad.

‘The most shocking thing of all, though, is that they are deemed safe under minimum standards and are being sold to parents who trust these guidelines.

‘The standards simply aren’t tough enough to assure adequate protection in crashes and need to be raised.’

The Little Shield Combi 123, Chicco Max 3-S and Recaro Start use the adult seat belt for a 9kg child. In the June Child Car Seats Which? report, Which? incorrectly stated that the Mamas and Papas Pro-Tour uses an adult seat belt to restrain a 9kg child. In fact, it has a separate harness for Group 1 (9-18kg) children. But it’s still a ‘Don’t Buy’ as there is no protection from side impacts for older children.

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