A high number of children are at risk of serious injury if the car they are travelling in is involved in a side-on crash, as they are travelling in unsafe backless booster seats.
Which? is urging parents to check their car seats are safe, after its latest survey of 1,000 parents shows that 55% of 4-12 year olds are using a backless booster seat when travelling in a car.
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Unsafe booster seats
Backless booster seats currently meet the legal requirements to be sold in the UK, but they offer inferior protection compared to high backed booster seats in side-on crash situations.
A worrying number of parents (22%) believe that a backless booster seat offers the same protection as a high-backed booster seat – but this simply isn’t the case.
Our crash test video footage shows what happens to a dummy during a crash when using a backless booster seat:
Backless booster seat advice
Which? child car seat expert Lisa Galliers says ‘It’s 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 high-backed booster seat as soon as possible, especially if you’re travelling long distances over Easter.
‘Our latest survey reveals some worrying statistics and shows that some parents are completely unaware that their children aren’t as safe as they should be.’
New iSize car seat regulations
The new iSize child car seat regulations, which are being phased in between 2013 and 2018, will include a side-impact crash test and will lead to backless booster seats being phased out.
Which? uses far more stringent standards than the current R44 car seat regulation to test child car seats and 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.
Parents can head to the Which? guide to find out more information on backless booster seats and why we advise against them.