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Parents ignore child car seat safety

A quarter have used a car seat that didn't fit

Baby in child car seat

More than a quarter of mothers and fathers have used a child car seat or booster seat that did not fit properly, according to a survey of 1,000 parents by road safety charity Brake.

Nearly half of parents do not always ensure their child uses an appropriate child car seat or booster seat when travelling in a taxi or someone else’s car, while more than a quarter (27 per cent) have used a second-hand child seat or booster seat, which is not recommended by experts, including Which?.

Choosing the right car seat or booster seat is key to your child’s safety. You can use the Which? compare features and prices tool in our child car seats reviews to find the best one for your child.

Child car seat safety

UK law states that parents must use a child or booster seat until their child is either 12 years old or 135cm tall. Which? recommends doing so until your child is actually 150cm.

Which? child car seat researcher Victoria Pearson says: ‘It’s disappointing to see the results of Brake’s survey. This suggests that 20% of parents expect to stop using a child car seat or booster by the time their child is nine. This would expose your child to the possibility of more severe head, neck and internal injuries in the event of a crash. Using the correct child car seat for your child and your car should be a vital part of every journey.’

Brake says that every year more than 700 children under eight are killed or seriously injured on roads in the UK. Child restraints greatly reduce the risk of death or injury in a collision. 

Buying a child car seat

Getting the right advice about choosing a child car seat is not always that easy. Our latest child car seat investigation uncovered a poor level of child car seat choosing, buying and fitting advice from a number of retailers, in particular supermarkets.

Asda scored lowest in our investigation with only 4%, while Halfords came top with 72%.

To ensure you have all the right information to help choose the most suitable child car seat for your little one, take a look at our video guide to how to buy the best child car seat.

Fitting a child car seat

Getting the right child car seat isn’t the only thing you need to consider – the way it’s fitted in your car is important too.

Our fitting video gives you all the advice you need on how to fit a child car seat, whether you have a rearward-facing, forward-facing or booster seat.

More on this…

  • Make sure you get the best with a Best Buy child car seat
  • See all our advice on choosing a child car seat
  • Find out more about which are the best car seat for babies
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